When the Downtown Block Party returns, the streets of downtown Iowa will be transformed into an outdoor beach, disco club and stage for musicians, drag queens and veterans.
The fifth annual Summer Bash, presented by the Iowa City Downtown District, will bring a free festive evening for all ages.
Last year, the Downtown District increased the size of the event due to Covid-19 safety concerns, adding 20,000 square feet for adequate spacing.
This year’s block party will keep its expanded layout and add a new tradition to the list of activities that are already strong.
Here’s what to expect from this year’s event.
Things to do at Iowa City Block Party: Volleyball competitions, silent discos and live music
The new one for this year’s block party is SCW Pro Wrestling in Davenport. The stage will be held at the intersection of Washington and Lynn streets at 5: 30-7 pm and 8-9 pm.
Other blockbuster classics will return, such as Silent Disco, which invites community members to tune in to their own tunes via the provided headset. There will be a drag show on Iowa Avenue by Studio 13 from 6-7: 30pm, followed by a fashion show at 8pm.
A block party would not be complete without a round of sand volleyball or tug-of-war. Sign-up is available on the Downtown District website, as well as information on the Blitz and Bullet Chess Tournament, which will take place at 5-8:30 p.m.
The band performing at the Angler Theater Stage is Crystal City, starting at 5 p.m.
The band was formed in 2009 by Dave Helmer and Sam Drala, Crystal City Front Men. The rock band performed with Cactus Blossom, Adia Victoria and more.
Crystal City is followed by James Tutson and Rollback. The Iowa City-based band is busy with performances in the Ranshaw House concert series this summer and the upcoming show through the Summer of the Arts Friday Night Concert series.
Rhythm and Blues and Soul Band formed in 2016.
Public Access will present at 7:15 p.m. Instrumental Midwestern bands renowned guitarists Brian May and David Gilmore, saxophonist Paul Desmond, electronic musician Four Tate’s rhythm and Daft Punk’s synth sound, according to the band’s bandcamp.
According to the band’s website, completing the Angler Theater stage is the twin cities rock ‘n’ roll band inspired by the “sound and energy” of headliner Kiss the Tiger, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Patty Smith.
As you approach the city center, note the following road closures:
- Iowa Avenue from Clinton Street to Lynn Street.
- Dubois Street from Iowa Avenue to Washington Street.
- Washington Street to Clinton Street to Gilbert Street.
- Clinton Street to College Street to Iowa Avenue.
- From the street north of the Iowa City Public Library to Iowa Avenue, Lynn Street.
For those 21 and older, Block Party sells event cups so attendees can buy and drink street drinks from downtown bars and restaurants.
Tickets for the cup can be purchased online or on the day of the 15, which provides attendees with the cups and wrist bands needed to bring out the alcoholic beverages.
Here is the full schedule of the Iowa City Block Party:
- “Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0” Art Installation: All day in the pedestrian mall
- SCW Pro Wrestling Stage: Washington Street and Lynn Street intersection 5: 30-7 pm and 8-9 pm
- Iowa City Letters: All day at the intersection of Clinton Street and College Street
- Roller Skating Rink: 4-9pm on Clinton Street near Utopia
- Bingo Games: 4-5 pm and 5:30 pm on the Iowa Avenue Stage
- Senior Center Performers: 5-5: 30 pm on Iowa Avenue Stage near Elray’s Live & Dive
- Sand volleyball game: 4-11 pm on Clinton Street near the summit
- Tennis / Pickleball Court: Joystick Comedy Arcade on Lynn Street 4-11 p.m.
- Beach Area: 4-9pm near Evers Men’s Store on Clinton Street
- Ping-Pong, Cornhole, Zenga and Yard Games: 4-11pm on Iowa Avenue.
- Blitz and Bullet Chess Tournament: 5-8:30 pm on Lynn Street
- Dualing Piano: 5-10 p.m. on Washington Street
- Crystal City: 5 p.m.
- James Tutson and Rollback: 6:15 p.m. on the paiddance stage of the paid mall
- Public access: 7:15 pm on the paiddance stage of Paid Mall
- Kiss the Tiger: 8:30 p.m. on the paiddance stage of the paid mall.
- Silent Disco: 5-11pm on Dubook Street near Pullman Bar and Grill
- Video games for all ages: 6-8 pm in the meeting room of the Iowa City Public Library
- Drag show: Players sports bar and grill on Iowa Avenue Stage from 6-7:30 p.m.
- Fashion show: Players sports bar and grill on Iowa Avenue Stage from 8-9 p.m.
- “Crooklin” Outdoor Movie: 9-11 pm at Chauncey Swan Park at sunset
- Tug-of-war games: 9-11pm on Clinton Street near Summit
Paris Baraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and art at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at PBarraza@press-citizen.com or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter ParisBarraza