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Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 12:04 a.m.

Neighbors gather at Eye Street Mall for annual block party

Sophomore Lauren Campbell and freshman Moriah Ray man a table for Campaign GW, a group that advocates on behalf of GW's development efforts. Avra Bossov | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Audrey Scagnelli.

Members of the Foggy Bottom and GW community celebrated their progressing relationship at the ninth annual FRIENDS Neighborhood Block Party Sunday afternoon, drawing in parents in town for Colonials Weekend.

Dozens of local eateries, campus organizations, and community and University performers gathered at the Eye Street Mall for the event hosted by FRIENDS, a community group focused on maintaining open conversation between the University and Foggy Bottom residents.

Freshman Stephanie Demetry’s parents, in the city from New Hampshire for Colonials Weekend, said they dropped by the block party after reading the weekend’s schedule of events.

“The music is wonderful, it’s all very nice,” her mother, Liz Demetry, said. “This is actually the first official school function [of the weekend] we’ve been to.”

University President Steven Knapp said he was impressed by the number of parents at the block party.

“A lot of parents have come up to talk to me,” he said. “We’ve been announcing all week that, although this is not officially part of Colonials Weekend per say, it is a nice way to finish off Colonials Weekend.”

He added that the University’s relationship with Foggy Bottom is growing, especially with The Avenue’s development and Whole Foods Market’s opening.

Block party-goers enjoyed free treats from many local restaurants, including pizza, salad and rolls from Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, pickles-on-a-stick from Potbelly Sandwich Shop and samples of the recently opened Burger, Tap & Shake’s signature root beer.

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans said the block party is a “fabulous” annual event that pulls in members of the entire neighborhood, adding that GW’s relationship with local residents is improving.

“There was a time where it was terrible, but in recent years it’s gotten a lot better, which is due to the University reaching out to the community and vice-versa,” Evans said. “There’s been a lot of progress over the years.”

A capella and dance groups drew attendees’ eyes to the stage.

FRIENDS volunteer Gary Babcock said the entertainment this year the best in the block party’s history, calling it “diverse, high energy and extremely entertaining.”

The event also drew on-campus groups like Camp Kesem, GW Colonials, Campaign GW and Colonials For Clean Air.

“We’re trying to give people a flavor of the neighborhood and a flavor of being a Colonial,” Knapp said.

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