University of Jamestown representatives announced Wednesday that they are canceling the 2020 Community Block Party due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.

“While this is a great event with tremendous community support and having record attendance last year, with the current pandemic, the University of Jamestown feels the cancellation of this year’s event is what is in the best interest of our students and the community,” said Trish Herzig, associate director of residence life and conference services coordinator. “All incoming new students will receive a copy of the Jamestown Area Source Guide, a publication of Jamestown Tourism and The Jamestown Sun, that will serve as a resource for what our community has to offer.”

This would have been the 13th year for the Community Block Party, which was originally created as a way to engage new students coming to UJ with the Jamestown community.

“We are extremely saddened that we can't hold this great get-together, but also mindful of the risks it could entail,” said Lynn Lambrecht, president of the Jamestown Downtown Association. “This annual event has become a rite of passage for our newest Jamestown citizens each fall and a touchpoint for our community to come together and introduce ourselves.”

With vendor booths lining First Avenue in downtown Jamestown, the annual block party facilitated introductions to various churches, businesses, organizations and service groups that most students would likely not know about. It has also historically been a way for those groups to meet the students and advertise their products and services, as well as providing a fun evening for the rest of the community members to participate.

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“[The block party] is so important because it gives our residents, our newest being from UJ, and our local businesses an opportunity to connect and build relationships,” said Emily Bivens, director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce. “Those connections and relationships are vital to our community’s success.”

The university plans to bring the Community Block Party back in 2021.