Kylie Wray, of Panhandle Produce, center, sells pickled vegetables during the Block Party at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Kylie Wray, of Panhandle Produce, center, sells pickled vegetables during the Block Party at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Summer Block Parties create a fun, family-friendly space

Big band music filled the summer evening on June 15, calling pedestrians through the double loading dock doors of the Juneau Arts and Culture Center to the Summer Block Party.

It was the first of the season, and Juneau Big Band had the stage, a female vocalist belting out a song. Couples and children danced. Other people listened from the confines of the multi-colored fence designating the beer garden or as they browsed booths from local merchants.

“It’s nice to have a family-friendly event. Everyone feels welcome,” said attendee Rina Soriano.

The Summer Block Parties will happen every Friday through Aug. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m., said Benjamin Brown who is in charge of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council’s marketing and development. Weather permitting, future Summer Block Parties will take place at the Centennial Hall courtyard; otherwise, they’ll be moved inside the JACC.

“It’s 90 minutes of fun to end the week. It’s a great way to kick off the weekend. It’s family-friendly – there’s a beer garden but that’s a set a side area – and a lot of people do bring their kids. … People like to dance, and when it’s nice out, it’s just wonderful to be out in the sun and to have something to eat and something to drink and listen to some live music and enjoy downtown Juneau,” Brown said of the free event.

Students from the Juneau Fine Arts Camp will perform on June 22, and then on June 29, it’ll be Susu and the Prophets, a local band. Each week, it’ll be a new, local musical group. While not different every week, vendors will also vary over the course of the summer.

Marta Lastufka of Sweet Song Chocolates positioned her table near the double doors across from Salt and Soil Marketplace’s one, and along with her son Ambrose, handed out samples of her homemade spruce tip chocolates out along with her son Ambrose. Lastufka said she had been looking for more venues to sell her products, “to learn the business” since she primarily sold during the Juneau Public Market which happens annually during the holidays. She learned from the JAHC about the Summer Block Parties and now plans to be there over the course of the summer. Pleased, she said she sold to both new and returning customers.

Elizabeth Ouderkirk who has lived around Southeast but now resides in downtown Juneau, said she thought being a vendor at the Summer Block Party would be fun experience. She owns Pepper Bear Studio, creating “nature inspired” jewelry and collage art. When she wasn’t answering questions of customers, she enjoyed her booth vantage point of the main stage.

A brand new face in Juneau is Tiare Maumasi, owner of Deadly Dapper. She sells unique, handcrafted jewelry, some even with butterfly wings, and other accessories. Maumasi, who has been creating jewelry for more than 19 years, had just moved to Juneau two weeks ago from New Orleans and came to the JAHC to help her find her art community. She described the staff as helpful and wound up as a vendor at the Summer Block Parties.

Go to www.jahc.org to keep up with which musicians and vendors will be at upcoming Summer Block Parties.


• Clara Miller is the Capital City Weekly managing editor. She can be reached at cmiller@capweek.com.


More in Neighbors

Visitors look at an art exhibit by Eric and Pam Bealer at Alaska Robotics that is on display until Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)
Neighbors briefs

Art show fundraiser features works from Alaska Folk Festival The Sitka Conservation… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski meets with Thunder Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Djajalie in March in Washington, D.C., when Djajalie was one of two Alaskans chosen as delegates for the Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office)
Neighbors: Juneau student among four National Honor Society Scholarship Award winners

TMHS senior Elizabeth Djajalie selected from among nearly 17,000 applicants.

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)
Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

A handmade ornament from a previous U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)
Neighbors briefs

Ornaments sought for 2024 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree The Alaska Region of… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Neighbors: Tunic returned to the Dakhl’aweidí clan

After more than 50 years, the Wooch dakádin kéet koodás’ (Killerwhales Facing… Continue reading

The 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest winning painting of an American Wigeon titled “Perusing in the Pond” by Jade Hicks, a student at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
THMS student Jade Hicks wins 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Jade Hicks, 18, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, took top… Continue reading

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors Briefs

Registration for Parks & Rec summer camps opens April 1 The City… Continue reading

Easter eggs in their celebratory stage, before figuring out what to do once people have eaten their fill. (Photo by Depositphotos via AP)
Gimme A Smile: Easter Eggs — what to do with them now?

From Little League practice to practicing being POTUS, there’s many ways to get cracking.

A fruit salad that can be adjusted to fit the foods of the season. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: A Glorious Fruit Salad for a Company Dinner

Most people don’t think of a fruit salad as a dessert. This… Continue reading

Pictured from left to right are Shannon Easterly, Sam Cheng, Alex Mallott, Edward Hu, Leif St. Clair, Peyton Edmunds and Shelby Nesheim. The five students in the middle are the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé team that won the Tsunami Bowl in Seward on March 22-24. (Photo courtesy of National Ocean Sciences Bowl)
Neighbors: Team of five JDHS students wins Tsunami Bowl

Five students from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé won the Tsunami Bowl,… Continue reading