Downtown National Night Out celebrations on Aug. 2 will feature a bike rally connecting several neighborhoods, an event one organizer claims might be the largest of its kind in the country.
Volunteers are needed to help out at the huge National Night Out gathering, 6-9 p.m. in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on West River Parkway under the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. The celebration, sponsored in part by the Downtown Minneapolis and North Loop neighborhood associations, is expected to draw 1,500-2,000 people, according to organizer Sue Jahn. All who live and work Downtown are invited.
The celebration will include food by local chefs "Big E" of Chef E's Soul Food and Jackie Williams of Abundant Catering. Local jazz favorite Debbie Duncan, bluesman Cornbread Harris, and Larry Foyen and The New Orleans South Jazz Band will provide music. Photographer Wing Young Huie, known for his Lake Street USA project, will take photos at the event.
"Fabulous prize drawings" will be donated by more than 100 Downtown businesses and organizations.
If you are interested in volunteering, call Jahn at 339-4516.
Meanwhile, a bike rally beginning at 6 p.m. at the Midtown Greenway (East 29th Street & 5th Avenue South) will arrive at the Loring Park National Night Out celebration at 6:30 p.m. before heading to Elliot Park.
The ride - sponsored by the Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC); Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI); and The Midtown Greenway Coalition - is intended to encourage safety issues for bicycle riders, according to a press release. The Minneapolis Police Bike Patrol and "other celebrities" will lead the Loring-to-Elliot Park leg, leaving at 7 p.m., the release stated.
The bike rally will stop at E.P. Atelier caf, 609 S. 10th St., scheduled from 7-10 p.m. Other events will take place at the Bandbox Diner, 729 S. 10th St., featuring bluegrass music and a jug band and near the East Village Apartments, 1423 11th Ave S.
Bikers may continue on to an event in the Phillips neighborhood and eventually back to the Midtown Greenway.
Somewhere along the way, the Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance will raffle off a rebuilt bicycle and offer information on bike safely and maintenance.