‘Block-nic’? Name doesn’t matter to OWN, West Center as long as people have fun

       The Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) calls it a picnic. The West Intergenerational Center calls it a block party.
       Maybe a compromise name could be “block-nic.”
       In any case, the two community-advocacy entities will join forces once more this Sunday, July 31, for their fifth annual food-and- games get-together at Bancroft Park from 4 to 7 p.m.
       The public is invited to come by anytime during the event. Everything is free.
       “It gives us a chance to get out to the community,” said E.D. Rucker, director of the West Intergenerational Center, who helped set up the games and other entertainment.
       OWN board member Bob Kliewer will be one of the volunteer barbecue chefs heating up grills in the park pavilion Sunday. “I think we're probably going to have 175 hamburgers and 100 hotdogs, and there'll be pizza coming and barbecue beans,” he said. “At least that's what we'll start out with. We can always go to the store and get more.”
       Sodas will also be provided.
       Potlucking is welcome. At least a dozen side dishes were brought among the 200 or so people who attended last year.
       While OWN takes care of the food, Rucker and friends will be running games in the park such as three-legged races, pie eating, musical chairs, a “fish pond” for young children and bag races. Prizes will go to the winners. There also will be line dancing, face-painting and balloon-twisting.
       OWN's and West Center's different nomenclature for the annual outdoor festivity stems from each entity previously having put on separate public parties in the summer. West Center's event, on the West Middle School athletic field, was called a “block party,” while OWN's gathering at Bancroft was a “picnic.”
       During the first four years of the combined event, it was always held in June. However, after getting caught in a downpour each of the past two years, a decision was made to move it to a typically less rainy part of the summer.
       “This is about having fun and meeting people and finding out what your neighbors are like,” Rucker said. “It's also a chance for us to interact with the OWN board.”
       “Hopefully it's not going to rain,” Kliewer said. “We moved it a month so it wouldn't rain. I'm kind of looking forward to it. We've gotten some donations already. We're ready to go.”

Westside Pioneer article