Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rock the Block 2010 - By Chad

Every summer, Winston Salem holds a street party called Rock the Block. This year it fell on Saturday, September 18th. It spans most of 4th street, and features pretty much what you'd expect from a street party: food stands, a few bands, and an event or two. In the last few years, they've even had a children area with a few inflatables. But the one thing that always rings true about Rock the Block is that it is always phenomenally claustrophobic. It can be a bit unnerving as you lead your 3 children through the morass of people. But, despite the overcrowding, we like being out there in the the community events.

What was really different for us this year is we went with Nana and Papa. It was great to have them here with us, as we always enjoy their company. Plus, the 2 extra sets of hands made it MUCH easier. We did miss Emmy and Rachie, but I guess college is more important and all that.

This year at the event the organizers tried to spread things out over a few streets to help thin the crowds a little. It seemed to have no effect whatsoever on 4th Street, but it did give us something to do with the kids away from the massive crowds.

They had set up the kids area in the bottom of the Benton Convention center. It was a great change from the previous years. Not only was it away from the overcrowded street, but it also only cost $1 per kid. We definitely got our money's worth. There were only a few different inflatable rides/events/thingies, but again, for $2, we weren't complaining. The boys got to ride a mega-slide, run an inflatable gauntlet, jump around in a Scooby-Doo themed bounce house and hit some floating whiffle-type balls.

 Eagerly awaiting the fun
 A little more eager
 Tongue exercises are an important part of preparing for the gauntlet. 

On your marks... get set... Go!
And there off!
 Andrew's in the lead... where's Ryan?
 Andrew clears the hole in the wall... where's Ryan?
 There he is.
 And they're up the ladders...
 And down the slide... Where's Ryan? Ah yes, I recognize those feet.
 A celebratory embrace after successfully completing the inflatable gauntlet
 And they patiently await their turn in the Scooby-Doo bounce house
The air tee made hitting the ball a lot of fun.
Andrew and Ryan both got some great hits.

After playing in the inflatables area for a while, we decided to work our way up to 4th Street. Not the best idea. It seemed more crowded this year than ever before. But we were determined to find something else fun to do or see... and we did. They had a BMX stunt show. We wormed our way through the crowds and found some decent spots... to put the boys on our shoulders.
After watching the BMX guys do a few stunts, we decided to leave the chaos and get something good to eat. We went to Steak and Shake, and sat down for a meal. I don't think I've ever seen Andrew, Ryan and Molly eat so much. Probably had something to do waiting to eat dinner until 9pm. Yes, we were bad parents that night, we'll admit it. But the kids had fun and had no problem falling asleep when we got home.

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