‘Block-nic’ brings Westsiders to Bancroft

       An estimated 200 people braved mid-90s heat to attend the sixth annual Westside Picnic and Block Party (nicknamed “Block-nic”) at Bancroft Park July 30. TOP: Children run carefully in the egg race. BELOW LEFT: Barbecue chefs include (from left) OWN board member 
Stormie Wells, former board member Bob Kliewer and Mayor Lionel Rivera.BELOW RIGHT: People wait patiently in line for the plentiful food.   
Westside Pioneer photos
       Visitors were treated to free hamburgers, hotdogs, soft drinks and side dishes; entertainment by hip-hop dancers, line dancers and tai-chi students from the West Intergenerational Center; and chances to compete in traditional games such as sack races, egg races and a pie-eating contest.
       The food was put together by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), while the West Center set up the entertainment and games.
       With this an election year, attendees included two of the six Republican candidates (Lionel Rivera and Bentley Rayburn) for the 5th Congressional District seat, and the two hopefuls for District 18 State Representative - incumbent Michael Merrifield (Democrat) and challenger Kyle Fisk (Republican). Other political leaders in attendance were Westside leader/County Commissioner Sallie Clark, Mayor Lionel Rivera and Councilman Bernie Herpin.
       Clark and Rivera also helped man the barbecue. Rivera said afterward that grill work was nothing new to him - he had worked at a Dairy Queen while going to college. Clark is a Block-nic veteran, a former OWN president who helped bring the once-separate OWN picnic and West Center block party events together.

Westside Pioneer article