A people’s parade through the brick streets of the Old East Hill neighborhood, music in the community garden, a street art show and later a concert at night. Sounds fun, right? Oh, and did we mention puppets?
They’re all features of the 309 Punk Project’s “Night on the Tracks Block Party” on Nov. 11, part of the 10th anniversary of Foo Foo Festival, Pensacola’s all-encompassing arts and culture celebration that takes place Nov. 2 to Nov. 13 at various locations and venues.
“We’re excited and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Lauren Anzaldo, Night on the Tracks organizer. Night on the Tracks has put on previous events but never as part of Foo Foo Festival, which awarded 309 Punk Project a festival grant this year. “But this is a different realm and you’re dealing with very established people. We were surprised and appreciative.”
The party kicks off around 4 p.m. with the DIY street parade starting at 813 E. LaRua Street in Old East Hill and ending at From the Ground Up Community Garden, 501 N Hayne St.
Leading the parade will be puppeteers from two Pensacola puppet troupes – the Birds of a Feather Project and Bread Box Theater. Bread Box Theater is a small puppet troupe that uses humor in its performances, while the Birds of a Feather Project uses puppets of various Gulf Coast species to educate about wildlife in the area.
But why puppets?
“It’s a very old tradition and a very tactile way to tell a story,” said Coy Glass, who, along with his wife, Arielle Glass, works with both puppet groups. “Plus, it’s just fun. When was the last time you had a bad time at a puppet show? Never.”
Both puppet groups have worked a variety of events in Pensacola, including a Juneteenth celebration and a summer camp program.
Still, it’s not just puppets in the parade. You can be in the half-mile parade too, not as an observer, but as a participant. People of all ages are invited to participate in the parade, which will also include drummers. Participants are urged to bring noisemakers and instruments to the event. There will also be some puppets and instruments handed out to participants.
“We’re asking people to bring whistles, bubbles, things like that,” Anzaldo said. “People are welcome to bring their own costumes and make noise. It’s going to be a silly parade.”
But the parade is just one part of the Night on the Tracks Block Party.
Folk artist Panhandle Slim will have an outdoor art show from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 502 E. Wright Street and vicinity. Panhandle Slim – Pensacola native Scott Stanton – currently has a painting at the Brooklyn Museum, part of “Spike Lee: Creative Sources” exhibition at the New York museum.
Outdoor live music and video with Songwriter Rounds hosted by Katie Dineen, in conjunction with the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, will be held from 6-8 p.m. at From the Ground Up Community Garden.
An open-air film event featuring screenings of short films and projected art hosted by Calliope Films will allow opportunities for attendees to interact with the filmmakers and artists. The event takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Rails on Wright Street, 502 E. Wright Street.
Throughout the event, there will be food trucks, an artisan market and, in partnership with nearby Pensacola MESS Hall, interactive science and math games. The Old East Hill Preservation District is also a partner in the event.
All of these events are free. The only Night on the Tracks Block Party event that will require an admission fee is concert at Handlebar beginning at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. The concert features former Pensacola resident Rymodee who previously performed with This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb and who now lives in San Francisco, Indiana singer-songwriter Austin Lucas and Dave Dondero, who NPR once called one of the “best living songwriters” alongside Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Tom Waits.
“I know a lot of people are excited about the concert,” Anzaldo said. “We’re closing with a crescendo.”
For more information on the Night on the Tracks Block Party, go to Night on the Tracks | Facebook