National Night (Rain) Out 2013

Three summers ago I started biking the streets of Saint Paul with the ultimate goal of riding each block of every street. This post is about my ride on National Night Out, August 6, 2013.

 

August 6, 2013; Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, Frogtown 10.4 Miles

It was a delightful start to National Night Out, mostly sunny with the temperature in the mid-80s. However, uncertainty hung in the air, literally, in the form of menacing dark grey storm clouds to the north and west of Saint Paul. If the threat of storms put a damper on National Night Out celebrations, I saw no hints.

Barricades of various material, size and construction announced block parties from Mac-Groveland to Merriam Park to Frogtown.

 

“Chair-icades” in Mac-Groveland

“Chair-icades” in Mac-Groveland

 

An official City of Saint Paul barricade.

An official City of Saint Paul barricade.

 

Cones and ‘cades on Wilder between Portland and the alley south of Portland.

Cones and ‘cades on Wilder between Portland and the alley south of Portland.

 

A cheery sign welcomes neighbors to the block party at Portland and

A cheery sign welcomes neighbors to the block party at Portland and Wilder.

 

“Chair-icades” in Mac-Groveland

“Chair-icades” in Mac-Groveland

A “stair-icade” and another chair-icade. Not pretty but it worked just fine.

A “stair-icade” and another chair-icade. Not pretty but it worked just fine.

 

Power cords and speaker stands blocked this street off.

Power cords and speaker stands blocked this street off.

 

 

The block party at Edmund and Syndicate in Frogtown drew a lively assortment of neighbors of all ages. Co-organizers Shawna Klatt and Kristin Howatt told me this is the first time there’s been a National Night Out block party in their neighborhood. As Kristin, Shawna and I conversed, Kristin seemed to realize they threw a very successful block party, “You know what? I think this is an awesome kickoff party. I think we’re going to do this every year now!”

Neighbors Shawna Klatt, left, and Kristin Howatt, right, planned and hosted the party.

Neighbors Shawna Klatt, left, and Kristin Howatt, right, planned and hosted the party.

 

Kristin went on to tell me about the food. “We brought the hamburgers and hot dogs, Shawna brought a bunch of salads and she got a bunch of all those chips and drinks and then everybody else brought a dish to share. We all did it together!”

Shawna added,“ It’s a total traditional pot luck.” And they both laughed.

 Neighbors chat and enjoy food and beverages in front of Shawna Klatt’s house at 1283 Edmund.

Neighbors chat and enjoy food and beverages in front of Shawna Klatt’s house at 1283 Edmund.

 

Meeting at the water cooler.

Meeting at the water cooler.

 

Shawna mentioned that many of the neighbors have met but don’t know each other well, “We’ll do events like Paint the Pavement and then just kind of retreat back into our houses. It’s a good reminder that our neighbors need to be aware of each other and know each other and know each other’s kids and watch out for each other too.”

 

Shawna attends to the buffet line at the Edmund/Syndicate block party.

Shawna attends to the buffet line at the Edmund/Syndicate block party.

 

As we finished the interview, Kristin and Shawna kindly offered me dinner. However, a light drizzle began to fall so I finished picture taking, jumped on my bike and made a bee line home. As you likely remember, the rains came in earnest shortly before 8, when I was a couple of miles from home. By the time I got there I was soaked head-to-toe but was much more disappointed about what the storm had done to all the block parties.

 

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