PELL CITY -- A huge crowd of people hit the streets and the air contained the smell of tasty treats Saturday during Pell City’s 15th annual Hometown Block Party near the courthouse.
Erica Grieve, executive director for the Greater Pell City Chamber of Commerce, estimated there were between 3,000-4,000 people in attendance during the early evening hours, but expected more people to show up as the weather cooled down.
“It looks like we’re going to have a bigger crowd than we had last year,” Grieve said. “We’re anticipating between 16,000-17,000 people attending this year.”
Though the event is called a “block” party, Grieve explained just how large the grounds for the event cover.
“It roughly takes up around about two blocks,” she said. “We focus our area right around the courthouse, but it does kind of go out a little further on each end.”
The large area contained a wide variety of booths along the streets, with events catering to all ages, including five music stages featuring 21 country, rock, inspirational, Motown and other assorted performers, as well as sections of the block containing activities for children and teens.
Local musician Jamison Taylor, who performed on the rock stage with the Gypsy Cab Co., said he was thrilled to be able to perform in front of the hometown crowd.
“First of all, it’s an honor to play and be from Pell City,” Taylor said. “It’s an honor to play at the block party. It’s kind of the marquee venue to play at for a musician in Pell City. I’m thankful for the weather, the crowd and the turnout. It’s really great exposure for any band to be able to play a block party because once you play a block party, people know who you are.”
More than 180 booths manned by 130 vendors sold a wide range of food and goods as people stopped in for their treat or product of choice, whether it was a deep fried Oreo, a purse or airbrushed body art.
Lifelong Pell City resident Tony Johnson, who had parked his foldout chair underneath a shade tree on the courthouse square, said he enjoyed coming out to the block parties, having attended nearly half-a-dozen in his lifetime.
“It has been great,” Johnson said. “It’s a good family environment. We’ve been here since about 10 a.m. setting up. It’s definitely hot out here. That’s the only knock on it.”
Toni Mackey, who came to the block party with her husband, son and three daughters, noted it was a great opportunity to interact with fellow community members.
“It’s really great to stop by the different vendors,” Mackey said. “I’ve only been in Pell City for three years, and it’s my second time at the block party. This year, there’s new vendors. There’s family fun, enjoying the kids and seeing your neighbors -- just seeing the familiar faces. The more you see them, the more you get to fellowship with them and get to know folks.”
Grieve said the event hosted by the chamber would not be possible without the help of the corporate sponsors and the vendors who participated in the party.
“We cannot thank our sponsors enough for their support,” Grieve said. “They go above and beyond during the block party, and we definitely couldn’t do it without them.”