Block Party draws crowd of students, neighbors

Hundreds of Foggy Bottom and West End residents gathered in the area next to GW Hospital for the 8th annual Foggy Bottom, West End Neighborhood Block Party Sunday afternoon.

The event, hosted by FRIENDS – a community group whose main goal is to promote conversation between Foggy Bottom residents and GW students – gathered together nearly 50 organizations including more than 10 GW student organizations.

“You’ve got everybody together, it’s great,” said Bill Johnson, a lifelong resident of D.C.

University officials also participated in the event, including University President Steven Knapp.

“It’s parent’s weekend, and I think it’s great that [parents] can get together with our neighbors and friends from this great neighborhood,” said Knapp, speaking to the crowd at the block party.

Knapp spoke along with Vincent Gray, D.C.’s presumed next mayor and a GW alumnus.

The event featured other speakers and on-stage performances.

Carla Hall, a finalist on the Bravo Network’s Top Chef show and former chef for the State Plaza Hotel at 2117 E Street, spoke. She said she was “looking forward to bringing my café back to the neighborhood.” Her café is due to open on 24th and M Streets.

Midway through the event, the Ballou Majestic Marching Knights, who performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2009, took over the event and excited the crowd. Angela Smalls, a visitor from Arlington, said the Knights were “so eccentric, and talented.”

Other performers included the neighborhood’s Foggy Bottom Guitar Orchestra, GW’s 14th Grade Players and GW Vibes, an a cappella group.

Throughout the event, free food samples were offered from local restaurants and businesses.

Among the vendors was Healthy Bites, a D.C. -based health food delivery service geared toward busy students and workers.

“The turnout was successful,” said Annette Karanja, a representative for Healthy Bites. She said the company’s goal is to supply “healthy food for every type of person, especially busy GW students.”

Jane Vall, a visitor to the city from New Jersey, said the event had “great food and activities” and described it as worthwhile.

The event also had a tent sponsored by GW offering free health screenings to attendees and information on health risks.

The turnout for the event was one of the biggest in the past eight years according to Britany Waddell, director of Community Relations at GW.

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