KU fans flock downtown for party

Hundreds gather for homecoming event featuring bands, food

Kansas University's pep band and spirit squad performed for the crowd at Get

Brock Cordova, 3, and his brother Creighton, 5, were pretty happy running around the downtown block party at 8 p.m. Friday on Eighth Street.

While they wore their blue Kansas University gear, the boys’ mother, Cathy, said a KU homecoming victory today against Texas A&M would make them even happier.

With two live bands, food vendors, children’s games and a beer line, people flocked for hours to the portion of the road between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets that was closed for “Get Downtown.”

“I think it’s awesome. The only thing that would make it better I think is if they blocked all of Mass. Street off,” Cathy Cordova said.

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lawrence Inc. and the KU Alumni Association teamed up for the event to showcase downtown and to coincide with KU’s homecoming activities.

Lawrence residents front left, Bailey Sarna, 6, and Abby Monroe, 5, and Jerlyn and Michael Monore cheer along with the Rock Chalk dancers, the KU Cheerleaders and others while a block party was held to help promote KU's Homecoming game against Texas A & M at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Memorial Stadium.

KU’s pep band, spirit squad and Jayhawk mascots made an early appearance.

After the sun went down, the scene resembled a smaller and tamer version of Bourbon Street. While the Michael Beers Band and Dr. Zhivegas, a funk and disco band, played on stage, people of all ages either danced in the streets or did their best to carry on a conversation.

“We need to do this a lot more often. A lot more often,” said Joshua Marvin, 23, a Lawrence construction worker.

A security guard for the event estimated the crowd to be 800 people at 8 p.m. Others had come and gone as they browsed downtown shops and made stops at restaurants.

Event organizers said they chose the street because of interest from vendors. It would not disrupt much traffic flow, they said.

Aaron Sherwood, a KU alumnus from Lawrence, said the event helped fans get ready for today’s game.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all week. I’m pretty excited. I think it’s good to show off Lawrence, especially to people just coming into town for the game,” he said.

Larry and Carol Stevens, of Lawrence, sampled food and recovered from a long wait in the beer line.

They said they enjoyed the music and the atmosphere.

“It’s a good, wholesome environment,” Larry Stevens said. “It’s an awesome turnout. I don’t know where you’d put anybody else.”