Around 2,500 patrons gather for street party in downtown Phoenix

Downtown ambassadors adorned zombie make-up and gave lessons on how to apply it at the Downtown Phoenix Street Party, hosted by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. (Cydney McFarland/DD)

Traffic was closed to the public on Adams Street in downtown Phoenix Friday as some 2,500 people celebrated the city’s culture during the Downtown Phoenix Street Party, a free event hosted by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

The street block was filled with 64 vendors, with tables and tents for serving food and dishing out fliers for local businesses.

Only two national corporations were present at the street party, with the rest of the vending slots filled by downtown eateries and organizations, according to event coordinator Julie De Anda.

De Anda said the downtown area that the party catered to was between Seventh Street and Third Avenue from east to west and from Fillmore to the railroad track from north to south.

By noon, the party had already seen more than 1,000 faces, she added, and many of the tents serving food had exhausted their supply by 12:30. All of the food at the event was provided to passers-by for free.

Jawhar Karim, manager of Karim’s Cobbler Shop & Deli, said he was unsure when he considered having a tent for the first time this year. However, the choice to attend was well worth bringing Karim’s “soul food” from its usual location at Third Street and Jefferson Street.

“We decided it was a good idea,” Karim said. “It was nice. We made some new contacts.”

Although Karim’s has been in the downtown area for 17 years at their current location, the business had never chosen to partake in the street party, Karim added.

“I think it was a really good success,” he said. “We know what to expect next year.”

William Robinson of ASU’s Parking and Transit Services said he thought the event was a good one for the downtown community, but he chose not to eat any of the food.

“It look really good. If I had, I would have had to try it all,” Robinson said with a grin.

Journalism junior Anne Stegen also commented on the event’s impact beyond the free food.

“I’m really into the local scene,” Stegen said. “I think its really great that they have a lot of the downtown community represented.”

Local music also was provided free-of-charge by the band Bad Lucy, and downtown ambassadors adorned zombie make-up for the festivities.

Some vendors present at the street party were ones that had just opened this year, De Anda said. The newcomers were as much at home as any of the long-time members of the downtown community.

“What makes us unique is that we are always attracting new business and culture,” said David Roderique, CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “We have had over $4 billion dollars in new investments in Phoenix.”

The Partnership’s goal is to strengthen the community as a whole, and by doing this they provide certain services such as security, public transportation and economic development. They are responsible for street “clean teams” and have provided a downtown shuttle known as the Downtown D for all things local.

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership also is involved in other cultural events throughout the year, including a Zombie Run that will take place on Oct. 29.

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Dominic Valente contributed to this report.