Events & Expos

Seattle Parks makes call for Cal Anderson summer event ideas — Organizer planning ‘CHOP Block Party’ in June


The Seattle Parks department is offering planning and and funding help for events in Cal Anderson, one year after the Capitol Hill occupied protest that filled the park and nearby blocks became a center of the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle.

Meanwhile, an organizer who has focused on the art of the protests, has announced a CHOP Block Party weekend next month to mark the one-year anniversary of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’s formation.
The city’s call for summer 2021 events doesn’t mention last year’s tumultuous months of protest in the park that culminated in December’s sweep and clearance of homeless encampments and activists from the public greenspace:

Do you have an idea for a fun event or activity at Cal Anderson Park this summer? Get help planning or funding your idea! Seattle Parks and Recreation is waiving many of the permit fees for new events in Cal Anderson Park this year, and staff is available to discuss event planning and related issues, along with answering questions about what kinds of activities are allowed under the Governor’s current COVID Guidelines.

The Seattle Parks support is part of the “2020 Cal Anderson” effort curtailed by the pandemic and the CHOP protests. The community program including the Cal Anderson Park Alliance has pushed forward since to organize community clean-ups and new lighting and could eventually lead to other resources like mutual aid facilities in the park. Cal Anderson is also busy with work to add new art as part of the AIDS Memorial Pathway and construction to strengthen and upgrade the park’s Waterworks fountain.

Last summer after Mayor Jenny Durkan’s July 1st order to sweep and clear CHOP, the mayor said she hoped the 2020 Cal Anderson initiative could grow to “memorialize” CHOP with art and permanent features in Cal Anderson.

It’s not clear if the city will be supportive of the planned CHOP Block Party event. Earlier this month, the city was still not issuing permits for “unrestricted events” like marches that can’t be controlled for the number of participants and social distancing.

Other large early summer events like Seattle’s Pride parade have already announced plans to hold virtual celebrations again this summer. On Capitol Hill, there is hope for safe, in-person Pride events later in the summer. Organizers of another major neighborhood event — the annual Capitol Hill Block Party — have not yet announced plans for this summer after moving the event online last year.

Slated for the weekend of June 11th, organizer Mark Anthony says the CHOP anniversary Block Party has not yet received a permit from the city. In the meantime, the event is calling for vendors including food trucks to be part of a weekend of speakers and live music in the park.

We’ve asked city officials about the anniversary event but haven’t yet heard back.

The city, meanwhile, is looking for ways to bring new gatherings and activities to the park. Organizers are invited to email with ideas for events for this summer in Cal Anderson.

You can learn more about the CHOP Block Party here.

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