Party in the Park returns for another summer on Thursday at James Alan McPherson Park (1858 7th Ave Ct). The annual series of family-friendly events hosted by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department will be held every Thursday at a different city park though mid-August.
The 90-minute party at James Alan McPherson Park starts at 6:30 p.m., and will feature live music from the Negotiators, as well as “lawn games, craft activities, and a visit from the Iowa City Public Library’s Book Mobile,” according to Parks and Rec. The musical act will change for the party, but the rest will remain the same.
The next 11 parties are scheduled for the following parks.
• June 9: Scott Park, 640 S Scott Blvd
• June 16: Thornberry Dog Park, 1867 Foster Rd
• June 23: Glendale Park, 1250 E. Jefferson St
• June 30: Willow Creek Park, 1117 Teg Dr
• July 7: Wetherby Park, 2400 Taylor Dr
• July 14: Mercer Park, 1317 Dover St
• July 21: Kiwanis Park, 1519 Teg Dr
• July 28: Hickory Hill Park, 1439 E. Bloomington St
• Aug. 4: Frauenholtz-Miller Park, 4329 St. Patricks Dr
• Aug. 11: Hunters Run Park, 1050 Duck Creek Dr
• Aug. 18: North Market Square Park, 600 Fairchild St
The former Creekside Park was renamed last year in honor of James Alan McPherson, a distinguished writer and longtime Iowa Writers’ Workshop faculty member. In 1973, McPherson became the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for his story collection Elbow Room. Eight years later, the MacArthur Foundation awarded him one of its first genius grants.
“I thought he was the heart and soul of the workshop,” Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, said in 2016, following McPherson’s death.
“This was a park that was in a local neighborhood, not far from where he lived,” Mayor Bruce Teague said, when the park was renamed in 2021. “And if you walk around this park it really does match his personality, very personable and everything is right here.”