Winston-Salem ending Rock the Block festival

By Ed McNeal
City of Winston-Salem

Rock the Block Concluding, Having Served Its Purpose
        Rock the Block, the downtown street festival originally started to showcase downtown improvements, will no longer be produced by the city. Its place on the third weekend in September will be taken by a new downtown festival that is being organized by a local corporation.
        The decision to end Rock the Block after an 11-year run was influenced by several factors, said Ed McNeal, the city’s director of marketing and communications, including the simple fact that the festival had served its purpose.
        “The inaugural Rock the Block was conceived as a one-time event to expose city residents to the downtown streetscape improvements that had just been concluded, McNeal said. “We wanted to encourage people to come downtown.”
        It proved so popular that Rock the Block became an annual event, and along the way downtown became a popular destination every night of the week. Eventually, downtown became sufficiently busy that Rock the Block had been scaled back for the past two years.
        “Downtown Winston-Salem was a very different place in the early 2000s,” McNeal said. “Now it’s so vibrant that you can find plenty to do on any given day or night of the week.”
        September remains a busy month for outdoor entertainment with such events as the Hispanic Festival, the Winston-Salem AirShow, OktoberFest, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
        Also, city staff and volunteers will continue to produce the annual Moonlight Madness 5K and Fun Run as the city’s United Way campaign fundraiser. Moonlight Madness will be held on the third Friday in September in Merschel Plaza."

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