By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
The Silver Room’s 15th Annual Block Party resonated with the Beauty of Chicago — this year’s theme — as it filled Harper Court and the adjacent streets over the weekend.
Although the affair got off to a soggy start, officials estimated that 35,000 party-goers filled the area as the party rocked with lively music, street performances, delicious food and local vendors displays, clearly succeeding in celebrating Chicago’s community, culture and diversity.
The block party included four sound stages, with over 130 artists performing, 11 satellite locations and 75 vendors. This year, The University of Chicago’s Commercial Real Estate Operations group partnered with organizers from The Silver Room to sponsor and program the block party’s first kids’ area. The children’s area entitled “Beautiful Kids,” following the theme of “Beautiful People” was open from noon to 6 p.m.
The “Beautiful Kids” area included over 25 local community groups and participants, which either hosted activities or performed on the kids’ stage. The colorful and bright balloon-filled corner of Harper Court featured members from the Museum of Science and Industry hosting activities based on their newly opened exhibit “The Science Behind Pixar,” while the Hyde Park Art Center helped kids paint a temporary mural and create paper bag puppets to take home.
Other activities included local groups like Hashtag Lunch Bag, which helped kids write notes for homeless children in need; The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, which had members teach children basic reading of hieroglyphs and offered face painting; and cupcake decorating shop by Vanille Patisserie in front of their store at 5229 S. Harper Court. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club also helped set up Imagination Playground, for kids to have a hands on interaction with fun building blocks while parents enjoyed the festivities.
Sarah Diwan, Executive Director of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club took to social media expressing her “love” for the Imagination Playground and all those participating in it.
Performers for the children’s space included 57th Street Books which led a story time, and dancing from the Hyde Park School of Dance, and Move Me Soul Dance Company to name a few.
“The Silver Room Block Party was wonderful. So much love, warmth, and joy all in one place,” said Morgan Malone, who came to the block party from the New City neighborhood. “I wish we could do this every weekend in Chicago or at least once or twice a month.”
At Hyde Park Record Store, 1377 E. 53rd St., a special installment of the store’s “All Vinyl Store Series” was held from noon to 8 p.m. with DJ Jay Too performing.
Angel Elmore, who works at the record store, said he’s been performing at the store for six years, playing an exclusive vinyl DJ series and inviting other South Side and local musicians once a month to participate in the event. During the block party, the record store known for its cozy atmosphere was packed with people moving in and out of the business, enjoying the live free performances and dancing to the tunes.
Other highlights throughout the evening included Good Kids Mad City, a group focused on keeping young people united to end violence in the city taking the stage to hold a 20 second moment of silence honoring those young lives lost to gun violence; and free movie screenings at Harper Court Theatre.
Bella Tronou, manager of Harper Theatre, said it had been a “busy day” but it was fun and it kept her on her toes. Elise, her sister was helping her out for the day due to the heavy flow of customers.
People from all age groups attended the Silver Room Block Party. The block party’s organizers expressed their deep thanks on social media.
“Thank you to all the Beautiful People who attended to the 15th Annual Silver Room Block Party. A celebration of community, local business, music, and uplifting spirit,” said members of The Silver Room on Twitter.