Outside group looking to bring ‘college carnival’ to Eighth Street downtown

A downtown side street may take center stage later this month.

A South Carolina-based marketing company is seeking to close down Eighth Street from Massachusetts to New Hampshire streets on April 19 for a “college carnival.”

According to applications filed with the city, the event would include at least two bands and several carnival booths, such as strong man stands, photo booths and putting greens.

City commissioners will consider approving the event at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday at City Hall.

The event continues a trend of tapping Eighth Street as a site for street parties. The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has used the block to host two Get Downtown Events, and The Sandbar recently used the street for a party celebrating the bar’s anniversary.

Now some businesses are considering seeking approval in May for another block party event, said Austin Sinkler, manager of Richard’s Music Co., 15 E. Eighth St.

“We think they are really good ideas,” Sinkler said. “It is really a nice way to get the side streets a little bit more interest.”

Details on this most recent event proposal weren’t clear. Attempts to reach the promoter, BFG Communications, were not successful.

City Clerk Jonathan Douglass said he’s been told the event will be free to enter. According to information submitted to the city, the event is part of a national tour of college communities, being sponsored by Turner Broadcasting and Superfly promotions, a music group that produces the popular Bonnaroo festival.

Plans call for the street to close at 9 a.m. for set-up, but the event would not begin until 6:30 p.m. The live music would last until 9:30 p.m. The street would reopen at midnight after clean-up is completed.

Douglass said the promoters have not asked for permission to sell or allow alcohol on the city street or sidewalks. City staff members are recommending approval of the request, pending the submittal of more detailed plans.

Douglass said the promoters originally had planned to have the event in private parking lot, but sought to move it downtown after those plans fell through.