It was April of 2006 when everyone first heard that Celebrate Holyoke was canceled. Since then the city has struggled to find a replacement. Brennan's had hosted a summer music series in the city owned parking lot behind the bar as a lead up Celebrate Holyoke, and that event did take up some of the slack, but it wasn't on the same scale as Celebrate Holyoke.
Crush was still reeling from the success of the New Year Gala in January when talk of a summer party first came up, but that idea was shelved for a few months while the group took a breather from event planning.
As Spring rolled into Summer the party wasn't getting off the ground. The idea had morphed into a Block Party, but no planning was taking place. Brennan's own Maple Street festival wasn't going to happen this year, and it seemed neither would a Block Party.
An early effort at regrouping seemed to go nowhere, but a few members kept pushing, kept planning, and by mid June it looked like something was happening. Details of what needed to be done emerged, and a location was chosen.
As planning continued the scale of party grew. Early cost estimates for the event were $600 -$800, but those numbers wouldn't hold for long.
The planning committee kept chugging along. At no point was I on the committee, but I did receive all their group emails. Some days they flooded my inbox. Everyone in the group seemed to instinctively know when something urgent had come up, and before lunch there would be 27 replies.
While planning the Block Party: Over 600 emails were sent. Approx $4,000 was raised. 11 bands were lined up to play. And 1 new drink, the Crushtini, was invented.
At the Block Party: An estimated 3,500 people attended. An untold number of them danced together. And countless numbers of local children wanted to do it again tomorrow.
The Great Holyoke Block Party wasn't as big as Celebrate Holyoke, but I'm still smiling the next day.