Organizers aiming to keep rock rollin'
JANESVILLE Downtown Janesville has a summer hit.
Rock Around the Block started seven years ago with the simple goal of providing entertainment for city residents.
It has grown into a happening event that attracts thousands.
Organizers are hoping the turnout Sunday tops last year's total of about 8,000, said Matt Schreier, chairman of the Rock Around the Block committee.
"The first couple of years it wasn't really well known, but as each year passes knowledge of the event continues to spread," Schreier said. "It's starting to get its own legs, and people have already been asking me about it."
The focus on providing free entertainment for the whole family brings in more people, Schreier said. Organizers reach out to a broad spectrum of people to get a diverse crowd.
The block party is the latest installments in a series of events held in the summer in Janesville.
Not all of them were hits.
Taste of Janesville on the lawn in front of the Rock County Courthouse was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, Schreier said. It later was moved to the city bus station at 123 S. River St. and renamed as Rendezvous at the River.
The rendezvous didn't draw big crowds.
Schreier said he thinks the location hurt attendance.
Putting Rock Around the Block in downtown streets makes it easy for people to remember and identify, Schreier said.
The location of the block party helps publicize downtown shops and restaurants. Schreier said they try to get downtown businesses involved by having them sponsor and participate in the block party.
But first and foremost, the goal of Rock Around the Block is holding a party and having fun, Schreier said.
"We are going to get together for the sake of getting together, and we are going to have fun doing it."
But along with having a good time, Schreier said he hopes the event brings the community together and helps strengthen relationships.
"I think the important thing is … the way the economy is going and the way it's been affecting Janesville, you have to pull together … and exist as a neighborhood, community and group," Schreier said.
"Rediscover the importance of working with your neighbors, which leads to other events being organized and then other economic development can come of it."
Recycling 'round the block
Rock Around the Block this year will feature recyclable plastic cups.
Marked containers will be available on the grounds for recyclables. Cups with a liquid residue still can be recycled, but cups containing food residue cannot.