The city that earned coveted state and national recognition for its sugar sand beach, sunsets and tailless dolphin, Winter, will spotlight its townspeople during the annual Celebrate Clearwater Neighborhoods Day Block Party that takes place on Saturday.
More than two dozen neighborhoods will participate in the 15th edition of the event, which began in 1998 as part of a city-initiated program designed to bring residents and officials together to help promote Clearwater’s many diverse neighborhoods.
“The purpose of the Neighborhoods Day block party is for neighbors to meet neighbors, to help foster that sense of community,” Clearwater neighborhood liaison Anna Gurney explained. “It’s a celebration of our city neighborhoods, all of its residents and the businesses that help make up our community.”
The block parties are organized by participating homeowners associations and other community leaders and can feature everything from bounce houses to free frozen treats delivered by a traditional ice cream truck to live entertainment.
City officials including Mayor George Cretekos travel from one party to another delivering goody bags to families and meeting with members of the community they normally might not get to interact with.
This year, organizers decided to do different things for participating neighborhoods — a barbecue grill giveaway, a free property beautification consultation with a city landscape professional and $250 in grant money to help fund the block party.
“Twenty-four members of our city neighborhood association applied for and received the grant money, including five new neighborhoods,” Gurney said. “They have used the money for food, entertainment and advertising the event, and they were all very thankful.”
The parties are supposed to take place between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, and they must be open to everyone in the neighborhood.
“Neighborhoods Day is an annual opportunity for the residents of Clearwater to celebrate spring with each other and for all of us to recognize the diversity that makes Clearwater the ‘Sparkling City,’ ” Cretekos said.
“This event will always be a highlight of the year for the Clearwater City Council and staff, as we look forward to attending the various events planned by the neighborhood groups and visiting with residents in their backyards.”