Bothell Block Party and BrewFest goes virtual

By Sean Park
The pandemic is not stopping the 6th annual Bothell Block Party and BrewFest, although people will not be gathering the same way this time around.

Working closely with event partners and performers, UW Bothell’s Office of Alumni Engagement has organized this year’s block party with an impressive lineup of musicians and vendors.

Set for for Aug. 22, the event will also serve as a fundraiser to support the Black Opportunity Fund at UW Bothell — which supports Black students, faculty and staff — and will feature many Black and allied artists who have performed at the event in the past.

Traditionally, the festival has been paired with the Husky 5K during UW Bothell’s annual Alumni Weekend. This year, the 5K was held virtually in May, attracting more than 800 participants from around the world, raising almost $14,800 for the COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund.

New ways to participate

The Block Party and BrewFest usually takes over four blocks in downtown Bothell with food trucks, local craft beers and some of Seattle’s most popular bands playing on multiple stages. It’s a community-centered event in which the University, the city and many local businesses come together to build community with people from across the Puget Sound region.

With state-mandated rules about physical distancing, organizer Tiffany Kirk and her team knew they couldn’t replicate the usual experience. They also didn’t want to turn it into something that felt like a teleconference. “We didn’t want to host a livestream. We’ve seen so many of them these last few months,” said Kirk, the interim director for alumni engagement. “Our goal was to get people more engaged and not require them to sit in front of a screen to do it.”

Here’s how the 2020 Bothell Block Party and BrewFest will work: All registrants will receive a block party box by mail before the event, set for Saturday, Aug. 22. Then, at 3 p.m. that day, registrants will be emailed a digital playlist that has been curated by the Seattle artists themselves. Many local favorites — such as The Black Tones, King Youngblood and Pickwick, to name just a few — will be sharing their music. Some have even created new music videos specifically for this event.

From 3 to 10 p.m., while enjoying the music and local craft beers from participating breweries, participants will be encouraged to share their own photos and videos through their social media accounts, using the hashtag #virtualbothellbp. The shared content will be shown on a tagboard on an interactive webpage open just to registrants, something UW Bothell saw successfully create connections among all the people participating in this year’s virtual Husky 5K. The board will remain available for a short time after the event as well.

“This should go without saying, but we ask everyone to remember social-distancing rules and to take appropriate safety precautions if they are participating with others,” said Kirk. “We included a mask in the box intentionally, and we know our participants all want to ensure this will be a fun and safe event.”

Good fun for a good cause

“What we love most about this festival is that it’s a full-on community event,” said Kirk. “It’s billed as a UW Bothell Alumni Weekend event, but it’s absolutely open to the general public.”

Kirk emphasized the importance of UW Bothell’s partnership with the Bothell Kenmore Chamber, whose executive director is a UW Bothell alum. “They have been strong supporters of this event since the first one six years ago,” she said. “The team there and all our many sponsors are what enables us to put together this fun event for the community.”

This year’s sponsors include AT&T, BECU, WSECU, Starbucks, Image Source and the UW Alumni Association.

To participate, go to the Block Party event page where you can purchase your tickets online. Two types of tickets are available: a general admission ticket and a BP upgrade ticket. The $30 general admission ticket includes a tube-style face mask, a koozie, a number of sponsor perks, a 32 oz. glass growler and $1 off growler fills from participating breweries through December 2020. With the $45 BP upgrade ticket, participants receive everything from the general-admission level plus a Bluetooth wireless speaker, a $15 Starbucks gift card and 20 oz. Starbucks tumbler.

AT&T, a new sponsor this year, has also generously offered to donate $15 to the Black Opportunity Fund for each BP upgrade ticket purchased, up to $15,000.

We all look forward to “seeing” you on Saturday, Aug. 22.

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