New Pi’s street party aims to revive tradition and bring the community together

Welcome Back Street Party!

New Pioneer Co-op, Iowa City — Sunday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.

New Pioneer Co-op draws on a long tradition of community street parties for Sunday’s event. — photo by Adam Burke

This Sunday, New Pioneer Co-op brings back an old tradition to its Iowa City store. The block of Van Buren Street where the store is located will be closed to through traffic from 5-9 p.m. for this free, community-building event. Food and beer will be available for sampling and purchase, and live music will play throughout the evening.

“We have great old photos in our archives of New Pi street parties from way back when — ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, with all the styles to match. Some had dance performances — Salsa dancers one year made for a great photo op — and some were great concerts,” New Pi’s Allie Gnade said in an email. “We’ve had … headliners like Funkadelic and Los Lobos that people still talk about.”

For this event, the musical acts are Iowa City folkies High Water Mark, playing 5-6:30 p.m., and the Candymakers, in from the Quad Cities for a set of soul-tinged rock from 7-9 p.m.

Grass-fed beef burgers and vegan sausages will be available for purchase from the grill for $4 each, and organic watermelon, grilled sweet corn and other items will be available for $1. Free samples of Kalona Brewing Company beers, local kombuchas, Cobra Verde and more will be available during the event. Other local beers will be available for purchase at $5 a pint.

Cedar Rapids’ Iowa Brewing Company will be on hand to tap a special keg of their Surf Zombies Double IPA. The test brew, finished with coconut and pineapple, will be available for purchase only at this event.

“The folks at Iowa Brewing Co. like to experiment, and we’re all for creativity with food,” Gnade said. “People can’t get enough of coconut these days, but who’s tried it in beer?”

The keg will be tapped right at 5:30 p.m., and Gnade recommends that folks interested in trying it out get there early. “We hear people line up for Iowa Brewing Co.’s experiments,” she said.

Yard games, including giant Jenga and bean bag toss, round out the fun. The street party explicitly aims to foster interaction between the local and university communities in Iowa City. New Pi’s hope is that people from both will take advantage of the free event to mingle.

“We all live together, so we might as well break bread and get to know each other,” Gnade said, adding, “Making our community the kind of place we all want to live in is what we’re here for!”

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