Sunday, July 2, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
It seems like everyone has been curious to see how the World’s Largest Block Party worked out for us last weekend since we brought it back to the block. In a word, I would say that the 33rd WLBP was GREAT! First of all, a big huge THANKS to everyone who had something to do with making it GREAT! From the many volunteers and committee members who put in long hours of planning, serving, and hosting this awesome summer time party to all the staff folks here at Old St. Pat’s who worked so very hard on every aspect of the party of setting up, tearing down, and advertising, and of course, ALL the many people who generously supported us by their presence.
Many people asked me about the changes to the Block Party and why we made them. First of all, as I’ve explained a few different times publicly, the Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party carries a notable, recognizable name for people around the Chicago area, including the media. We were on every major network this year. People know about this party and they like the tame, friendly environment we foster for this event. For many years, as the party was growing, OSP didn’t have much competition when it came to summer festivals. Now, in 2017, there are multiple fests, street fairs, and concerts happening in almost every neighborhood of Chicago and out in the suburbs. As we kept chasing after big name bands to be our headliner for the event, it became apparent to us financially that we could no longer keep up with the major concert venues such as Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Lake Shake, to name just a few. This year, we made a strategic decision to bring the WLBP back here and make it what it was originally meant to be, a block party. Using local musical artists and therefore decreasing our expenses (and risk, with an outdoor event), we appealed to a crowd that just basically likes Old St. Pat’s and enjoys a summer street fair on a city street in the shadows of our beautiful downtown. In addition, mindful that the West Loop neighborhood has grown tremendously these past several years and with the large number of families both in the neighborhood and within our membership, we decided to create a more “family friendly” event beginning earlier in the day on Saturday. Thankfully, it worked! Families came out in great numbers and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the park at the Block Party KidZone. It was a steady flow all afternoon. So, overall, Old St. Pat’s did very well. We believe we hit the budgeted number that was planned and likewise we created a fantastic buzz about the fun and enjoyment of this signature summer event. Again, thank you for your support and encouragement.
After the 8 am mass today, I will tkae off with our Foundations Teens and young adults on a summer Worktour to eastern Kentucky. I’m honestly not sure where I’m going or the details. I’ll find out when Courtney tells me in the van. Please say a prayer for a safe and enriching experience for these delightful, hardworking, and faith-filled young members of Old St. Pat’s. It is always a great time for me to be inspired by this “next generation” by their fun, conversation, music, and wild antics on these trips.
Enjoy the 4th of July. As I write this, I’m not sure where our state lawmakers are with the budget or where the federal government is going with the health care bill, but let’s pray for wisdom and courage to do the right thing for all people, especially those who are poor and most at risk by these critical decisions.
Prayerful best for a restful, renewing summer. See you next weekend!
Father Tom Hurley