Party on, Watertown!

A girl dances at the front of a crowd during a lively performance by the band Ransom during a Watertown block party on Public Square in September 2019. Watertown Daily Times

It’s been nearly three years since the last block party took place on Public Square in Watertown, and residents are more than ready for the return of this popular event.

The block parties were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the novel coronavirus. While we’re still dealing with the pandemic, conditions have improved to the point where outdoor events are coming back.

And we’re pleased that the block parties in Watertown have been rescheduled. The first one will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday. The other two will be held at the same time on July 29 and Aug. 26.

Donald W. Rutherford, chief executive officer of the Watertown Local Development Corp., originally proposed the plan for the block parties to city officials in 2017. This meant that part of Public Square would be closed for the events.

Offerings would include music by local bands, food and beverages, a children’s play area, adult games, businesses selling their products and other entertainment. This idea was wisely recycled from a previous era.

“More than 25 years ago, Public Square hosted similar events,” according to a story published April 15, 2017, by the Watertown Daily Times. “Known as the Party in the Square, those block parties were held, for a time, at the former site of the Woodruff Hotel along the square, near the apex of Arsenal and Court streets and on Arcade Street.”

Complaints about noise, however, forced the city to discontinue these events. Thankfully, this has not been a concern since the block parties resumed five years ago.

These block parties offer a great opportunity for residents to soak up the nice weather (provided Mother Nature cooperates), listen to excellent music and enjoy the food and beverages. People can socialize with their neighbors while discovering what the downtown merchants have to offer.

We commend organizers for bringing back the block parties this year and urge residents as well as merchants to make good use of them. Exciting things are occurring downtown, and these events are a good way to showcase this.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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(1) comment


Early this morning, I read about the return of Watertown's downtown parties. I was thrilled!

This afternoon, I read about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down NY's concealed weapons restrictions, which, assuming it holds, will mean that virtually anyone and everyone can pack concealed weapons at Watertown's downtown parties.

Un-thrilled, now, to the core.

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