Summer block party to break down barriers

Inaugural CONO event models neighborhood get-togethers

By LILY REAVIS
Special to the Express

The Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) is hosting an inaugural block party on June 21 to officially kick off summer. As of Thursday, June 13, 50 people have signed up for the corn hole tournament, and registration closes on June 14. It costs $25 for one player to enter the tournament or $45 for a pair, and registration is required. To sign up, log on to the CONO website. Participants receive one free drink and $10 of food credit with their ticket.

Sara Vaas, CONO’s chief operating officer, hopes that the event will “showcase a model block party for neighbors to throw their own throughout the year.”

“We hope to reduce barriers and encourage community members to connect with each other in their own neighborhoods.” — Sara Vaas

The free event will include food trucks, live music, a silent auction and a beer garden; bring cash for food, drinks and the silent auction. The goal is to give community members the resources they need to organize events in their own neighborhoods during the summer season.

CONO hosts an annual community-building campaign called NeighborUp! every September. The program aims to “break down barriers,” Vaas said, by encouraging community members to host events and interact with their neighbors. This year, the organization decided to introduce the model block party months before NeighborUp!’s kickoff.

Vendors at the block party, such as Pikes Peak Lemonade and Potato Potato — a Colorado Springs food truck — are offering participants various discounts to hire their services at their own events this summer. CONO will provide community members with the paperwork required to host events, as well as waive all permit fees and pay to rent barricades and venues this summer.

County commissioners, elected officials and a few Olympic athletes will be attending the block party, and CONO hopes that at least a few hundred community members will also join. CONO has partnered with several local organizations in order to host the block party, including RISE Southeast, which will provide their CommUnity Trailer filled with games and sports equipment for children. 

Peaks and Pine, Storybook and Ska brewing companies have partnered with CONO to operate the beer garden. CONO is asking for a donation of $3 for the use of the beer garden.

The block party will take place outside of CONO’s office at 1506 N. Hancock Ave. from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 21. If arriving by public transit, the Hancock/Janes Lane bus stop is directly outside, and bike parking will be available.

“We hope to reduce barriers and encourage community members to connect with each other in their own neighborhoods,” Vaas said.

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