No BBQ, smaller crowd at ‘block-nic’
Did people only come in past years for the food?
That was a question for board members of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) to ponder after its seventh annual “block-nic” with the West Intergenerational Center July 29.
Without the free barbecue of past years, attendance at the OWN picnic/ West Center block party was noticeably down this year.
About 100 people came, according to Amy Filipiak, vice president of OWN, the older Westside's neighborhood advocacy group. This compares with close to 300 people in recent years, when OWN volunteers grilled burgers and hotdogs while people stood in line for plates of food and various people brought side dishes.
“I think the people that were there had a good time,” Filipiak said of this year's three-hour bash, but added her belief that “the numbers went significantly down because we weren't offering food,”
She said she would like to talk with fellow board members about what to do for next year's picnic. The OWN board had opted not to barbecue this year after becoming concerned that increasing numbers of attendees were homeless people looking for free meals instead of Westside families seeking to get involved in the community.
OWN did offer free drinks and cookies and brought in a hotdog vendor this year. In addition, there were informational booths and appearances by firefighters from Stations 3 and 5 (until the latter contingent had to leave to take a call).
Musical and dance entertainment and children's games were organized, as in past years, by the West Center staff.
Westside Pioneer article