It was a warm summer evening and the aroma of fresh empanadas from the Los Antojitos restaurant filled the air of North Washington Street. Children were playing with Axel, the police dog, while their parents clapped to a rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” performed by the Attleboro School of Rock.
This gathering of families, businesses, and performers took place at the town’s second annual block party. More than 3,000 people attended the event on Sept, 21–a 1,500 increase from last year.
The block party, run by a collaborative group of business owners and volunteers led by Town Councilor Annie Slobogan, had 90 different kiosks for local businesses, activities, restaurants, and organizations. The street was extended to the site of the town hall to add more events
Slobogan said she and her group re-launched the block party in 2021 after its discontinuation in 2013. This year, the demand for vendors increased after the success of the previous year’s party.
“It’s because of the success last year, people want to be a part of it,” Slobogan said. “Even today we had people asking if they could be a part of the event as well. There is a lot of our town’s pride put on display today.”
Activities at the event included an archery game set up by Boy Scout Troop 23, face paintings from Princess Elsa of Disney’s “Frozen,” a photo bus, a bubble machine, and a variety of raffles.
Performances by the North Attleborough High School drumline, cheerleading squad, and the K-9 academy were shown throughout the evening, while people enjoyed food from different restaurants and bakeries.
Jack Lank, the President of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce in Plainville Massachusetts, said the block party was more than just a celebration of the town, but a demonstration of what North Attleborough has to offer.
“This year is a lot bigger and there’s been a lot less COVID restrictions so you start to see people come out in droves,” Lank said. “The organization who did this did a great job.”
In terms of businesses, Lank said the restaurant industry has been making a strong recovery since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but commented that they are still looking for more people to hire.
“It is those types of businesses that are starting to flourish again,” he said. “The best thing people can do is to go to their local restaurant as they are doing now at the stands and help them that way.”
A tradition of the block party is the display of contemporary cars, trucks, and vans stationed at the beginning of North Washington Street. More than 50 automobiles were put on display, some in original condition and others heavily modified, such as a 1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero with hot-rod flames painted on its side.
The cars were not the only pieces of art at the event. The preservation framer art gallery had a live painting session outside of its building, with artist Mary Ellen Cusack creating new works of floral arrangements in real-time.
“I just like painting flowers,” Cusack said. “I’m not inspired by anything, I just see what I want to paint and then I paint it.”
While the party was seen as a welcome return for many, others were experiencing it for the first time.
State Senator Paul Feeney, (D-Norton) who now represents the town of North Attleborough was impressed with the passion and effort put into the block party and said it was one of the greatest experiences he witnessed this year.
“The people here are real,” Feeney said. “Everybody told me that this was such a great event, and the fact I get to see it firsthand is great. Everybody is having fun.”