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Rocking downtown Janesville: Event has another big year

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 30, 2010
— If the success of an event can be judged in parking stalls, Rock Around the Block was a winner.

On Sunday, the annual event featuring more than 35 local bands took over the first three blocks of North Main Street in Janesville. Cars also pushed up along side streets and near parks.


By 3 p.m., the parking garage, city lots and most of the business lots were filled—something that almost never happens during the week and is even more rare on weekends.


By that time, North Main Street was vibrating with sound. Music blared from three main stages.


Add to that the sounds of the generators powering food stands, the music coming from the Guitar Hero competition, the shrieks and giggles of children playing in the kiddie pools provided by Janesville Leisure Services and the chatter of thousands of people enjoying a beer or bratwurst in the sunshine, and you’ve got the sound of a serious party.


How busy was it?


“We brought about 2,000 prizes and we’re almost out,” said Bonnie Davis, director of Janesville Leisure Services, who was running the children’s area.


The prizes—colored pencils, lollipops and other little toys—were awarded for participation in games.


“It’s been packed,” Davis said.


Inside Perfectly Precious, the children’s clothing consignment shop, it was blessedly quiet and cool.


Both Perfectly Precious and its sister store, Perfectly Plus, stayed open Sunday, as they usually do.


For business partners Tanya Kimble and Sarah Kopp, the event is a good way to introduce people to their business.


“We stay open for this every year,” said Kimble. “It brings people into downtown; makes them aware of what we have to offer.”


Rock Around the Block had its beginnings in an event called Rendezvous on the River that took place in the park near the downtown Janesville bus depot.


In 2005, it became Rock Around the Block and was sponsored by Downtown Janesville, Inc. That year, the event featured 19 bands on six stages and was attended by between 1,500 and 2,000 people.


The event has evolved since then, and is run by downtown business owners who are aided by a squadron of volunteers.


This year, the event featured 35 bands on 11 stages, and organizers expect attendance to top 8,000.



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