Second Annual Downtown Block Party echoes around Kodiak

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The gathering was hosted by the Kodiak Community Foundation and the Kodiak Arts Council. It’s the group’s second Downtown Block Party. Laura Arboleda is the board chair of the foundation. She said participation just about tripled this year. 

“Last year we had about ten local nonprofits sign up and maybe six or seven showed up,” Arboleda said. “This year – including us and the arts council – about 20 to 22 nonprofits showed up and participated in the downtown block party.”

The Alutiiq Dancers sang and danced their way onto a sort of stage, September 9, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

She said it’s their way of celebrating not just the things Kodiak’s known for, like fishing, but also the people who live here. 

“We also have a very rich diversity and culture and so, to be able to show that off to our community, is amazing,” Arboleda said.

Live performances included dances from Samoan American Dancers, the Filipino American Association, music from the Kodiak Balalaika Players, and even an all Coast Guard band called Home Bru. 

The Kodiak FIlipino American Association had dancers perform with traditionally themed costumes, September 9, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Kids had the opportunity to play in a bouncy house, get their faces painted, or use ropes on sticks to blow gigantic bubbles.

Arboleda grew up in Kodiak and said a lot of the events she loved have faded away. She said the initial idea behind the Block Party was to regrow a sense of community downtown.

“When I was younger, I do remember walking downtown a lot,” Arboleda said. “My cousin and I would just walk around down there and my older cousin would babysit us and she would make a scavenger hunt of what’s down town. And we would be able to walk down there and feel safe and okay.”

Kids got a chance to play at various booths supervised by nonprofits, like this young girl blowing bubbles bigger than she is, September 9, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Arboleda said she hopes holding events like the annual block party will help bring more foot traffic downtown and bring people together. 

“There have been efforts to make downtown a little more welcoming and a little more friendly,” Arboleda said. “We have some local restaurants down there, a little gift shop, and we have shops down there that we want to make sure we continue to support and it sits across from the harbor and it’s really beautiful. We have a beautiful downtown and we just wanted to figure out ways to be able to utilize that.” 

The Kodiak Community Foundation is already planning to host another block party next year.

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