Block party introduces festival first

by Joann Mackenzie Staff Writer

It’s the second year Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the city in planning downtown’s summer block parties, and “what we learned from last year,” says chamber events planner Kerry McKenna, “is that we really had a good time and I’m trying to hit the same home runs this year.”

Last year, for instance, says McKenna, the aerial acrobatic duo Circus Up was “a huge hit,” so they’ll be back on Main Street, along with — and new this year— Red Trousers, another amazing acrobatic act. Red Trousers’ two New England buskers— David Graham and Tobin Renwick — have toured with Circus Smirkus, wowed crowds at festivals across America and Canada, Germany, South Asia and Australia, and taken their show on the high roads and low roads of Scotland, where they were hailed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as “ eye-poppingly brilliant performers.”

The addition of Red Trousers to the regular roster of block party favorites — Balloonitik Picasso, the Cape Ann Dancers, Henry Allen’s North Shore Folklore Theatre, Gloucester Stage Kids, Face Painting by Wendy, the YWCA’s Kids Town, the Vernal Pond team, the Kestrel Educational Adventures team — and music, sweet music, at three outdoor stages, is, says McKenna, how the block parties “puts smiles on kids’ faces.”

Those smiles, are, she says, “A big part of it.”

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