For a quarter of a century, the downtown Cleveland Halloween Block Party has been entertaining thousands on Halloween night.
The 25th annual event is set for Halloween night, Oct. 31, beginning at 5 p.m. and organizers have planned an evening filled with Halloween treats, entertainment and family fun.
Mars Chocolate North America will sponsor the ever-popular Treat Street which is open from 6 to 9 p.m.
“Treat Street is a highlight of the evening where thousands of area children are delighted to get a big grocery bag of candy,” according to Sharon Marr, executive director of MainStreet Cleveland. “Mars Chocolate does an incredible job with Treat Street and also with the Costume Contest. They generously donate thousands of dollars in candy and countless volunteer hours to this event.”
Treat Street will be located on Church Street in front of the Police Services Center. The Block Party venue includes Church Street, Ocoee Street, Broad Street, and First and Second Street.
“There is a tremendous turnout for this event with an average attendance of more than 20,000,” Marr said. “The expanded venue allows a smoother flow for attendees.”
Entertainment will get under way at 5 p.m. at the Courthouse Plaza Stage. The evening will include performances by a variety of popular groups including local favorites “Second Hand Smoke” at 5:30 and the Dexter Thomas Band takes the stage at 6:30. Talented dancers from Chilhowee Dance and Performing Arts Studio will kick off the evening of entertainment at 5 p.m. The main act for this year’s Block Party is legendary jam band, Drivin’ N Cryin’.
Children of all ages traditionally enjoy the costume contest at 6 p.m. on the Fun Stage at the Post Office Annex. Sponsored by Mars Chocolate, the Costume Contest includes categories for all ages from infants to adults. Trophies and candy are awarded for each winning category.
Following the Costume Contest, Block Party attendees can show off their talents and perform Karaoke with Detour DJ. Participants can choose from hundreds of songs and take the stage with a professional light show.
Another highlight of the evening is the DARE Midway that is filled with inflatable toys for plenty of bouncing and jumping entertainment. The DARE Midway is located on Broad Street and sponsored by the Cleveland Police Department and Bradley County Sheriff’s Department.
“The Halloween Block Party is a great downtown tradition and we are excited to offer families in our area a night filled with fun and entertainment,” according to Kathy Rohsenberger, president of the MainStreet Cleveland board of directors.
Vendors complete the festival atmosphere with all types of foods including barbecue ribs, grilled chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, funnel cakes, treats for the kids, games and much more. Area businesses and nonprofit groups are invited to participate. A limited amount of vendor space is still available. Vendor information may be found on the Mainstreet Cleveland website.
“It takes many dedicated volunteers to put together an event of this magnitude,” Marr said. “We are very fortunate to have the support of so many community-minded businesses. Thank you to our sponsors who make it possible year after year.”
Sponsors include at the Platinum level Mars Chocolate North America, Jones Management Services and Pioneer Credit. Gold level sponsors are Johnston Coca Cola and the Cleveland Police Department. Silver level includes the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Brenda Lawson & Associates, Larry Hill Ford, Waste Connections of Tennessee and Andrew Johnson Bank. Bronze level sponsors are BB&T, Chilhowee Dance and Performing Arts Studio, Easy Auto, Ed Jacobs & Associates, First Tennessee Bank, H&R Block and Don Ledford Automotive Center.
In-kind sponsors include Apple Valley Orchard, Bradley County, City of Cleveland, Cleveland/Bradley Courts Community Service, Cleveland Daily Banner, Cleveland Utilities, Cooke’s Food Store and Super Savers, Cleveland Utilities, Keep America Beautiful, Shannon & Associates Advertising Group, SunTrust Bank and WCLE’s Mix 104.1.
For more information on this free family event, contact Mainstreet Cleveland at 479-1000 or visit the website at www.mainstreetcleveland.com.
Legendary Drivin’ N Cryin’ to play at Halloween Block Party
One of the South’s hottest jam bands will perform a free public concert at the downtown Cleveland Halloween Block Party on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Sharon Marr, executive director of Mainstreet Cleveland, revealed exclusively to the Cleveland Daily Banner this week that Atlanta-based Drivin’ N Cryin’ — best known for their 1991 hit “Fly Me Courageous” — has agreed to play a 90-minute concert at the Halloween event thanks to a sponsorship from Check Into Cash and the company’s founder and CEO Allan Jones.
“Drivin’ N Cryin’ is a band known for putting on an incredible live show that features rock, blues and folk, much in the tradition of groups like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and the Dave Matthews Band,” Marr said. “They have a large following not just in the South, but also throughout the country. This year’s crowd could easily be our biggest yet.”
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ has toured extensively over the last 25 years and even made history by becoming the only band to share a stage with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sonic Youth and Neil Young in the same year. In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly honored the band with a resolution for their contribution to popular music.
Marr said Check Into Cash hired Drivin’ N Cryin’ with the intent of making the Block Party’s 25th anniversary a night to remember. In previous years, Jones has supported the Block Party by partnering with nationally recognized performers like Little Richard, Vince Vance and the Valiants, and even the cast of the television show, “Leave It To Beaver.”
The businessman, often called “Mr. Halloween,” was also a key figure in the creation of the Block Party, Marr said.
Jones created the Tall Betsy goblin in 1980 as a way to entertain his first child, Courtney. At the time, Jones was living on Centenary Avenue in downtown Cleveland. When the annual Halloween crowds became more than the street could accommodate, Jones helped create the Halloween Block Party as a way to draw traffic away from Centenary after 8 p.m.
When it became time to pick a band for the 25th anniversary Block Party, Jones asked for help from Courtney, a member of the Cleveland High School 1992 graduating class. Courtney suggested Drivin’ N Cryin,’ a band whose popularity skyrocketed in the early ‘90s.
“I recognize that there has been a changing of the guard and I am too old to know who today’s popular music acts are,” Jones said. “Drivin’ N Cryin’ is not a band I know much about, but instead is a band that appeals to the parents of the children who will be at this year’s Block Party.”
Ironically, the 1992 CHS class had its 20-year reunion on Saturday at Jones’ Creekridge estate where those who attended learned that Drivin’ N Cryin’ would appear at the Block Party.
Check Into Cash President Steve Scoggins said it is important to the company that the concert is free to the public so that as many people as possible can attend.
“Even in today’s economy, it can cost $500 or more to take your family down to Atlanta or Nashville to see a headlining act that puts on a great concert,” Scoggins said. “Check Into Cash has partnered with MainStreet to ensure that anybody who wants to see Drivin’ N Cryin’ can come to downtown Cleveland and celebrate completely free of charge.”
For more information on the free Drivin’ N Cryin’ concert, contact Mainstreet Cleveland at 479-1000 or visit www.mainstreetcleveland.com.