FROSTBURG — Residents and Frostburg State University students came together on Wednesday at the annual Frostburg Block Party, an event developed to build stronger relationships and forge alliances in the community, organizers said.
“It’s a nice event that brings the community members and the college members together, so there’s an understanding of each other,” said Frostburg Police Sgt. James Sites. “When they (students/locals) get out here and mingle it could be a positive thing; they might see where each other are coming from.”
“Naturally, there’s some hardship between your community members and the college kids that come in. It seems like they are butting heads, and it’s good to squash some of that.”
Frostburg faces many of the same issues most college towns face when students return, including noise complaints and large crowds. In an effort to alleviate some disconnect and merge the two communities together, Frostburg’s Parks and Recreation Department along with the Frostburg State University Student Activities organization sponsored the annual block party — an all ages event featuring music, food and entertainment on Main Street.
“This is a wonderful community-building opportunity for all of us,” said Bill Mandicott, assistant vice president of Student and Community involvement at FSU.
“This is a great chance for students to meet community members and vice versa and break down barriers, and students can start that process of feeling like they are part of a bigger community — I call it a great community love fest,” he added.
Mandicott said the event is not something many university towns can still offer.
“It’s small town U.S.A. that still comes together in its community and closes Main Street,” said Mandicott. “It’s that small hometown feel that you don’t see happening often in big cities. This is our way of our community saying that we want to come together.”
The small town feel is what led FSU senior Maggie Hobbins to Frostburg State University from Annapolis.
“What makes Frostburg different from all the different schools that my friends from back home went to is that we are in a smaller town,” said Hobbins. “We have a better connection with our community. I love the block party because all the local businesses come out and we get to see what’s new with them and if we have any new businesses on the street. I enjoy it a lot.”
The event was scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m., but was cut short due to rain. Before the storm hit just after 7 p.m., student groups, community organizations and local restaurants including The Hen House, The Corner Market, Princess Restaurant, Gianni’s Pizza, Frostburg Community Coalition and The Vapor Room worked beside each other from Water Street to Uhl Street spreading information, fun and food.
The Princess Restaurant has participated in the event every year, offering specials to everyone in attendance.
“It’s a good time to network with students and faculty,” said Princess owner Lauren Pappas. “It’s a good time for the university and the community to mesh and get together; that doesn’t happen too often. This is the one time a year that everyone really pulls together and has an event so its not so separate.”
Follow staff writer Heather Wolford on Twitter @heatherbwolford.