Join the Revival: Fondren Block Party

Experience the revival of the first Thursday in Fondren with the family-oriented Fondren Block Party lead by Swell-O-Phonic owner, Chane.

As Fondren gears up to resurrect its community spirit with the return of the monthly event, organizers are swapping pews for pavement and hymns for harmony on State Street.

The event continues on the first Thursday of every month until November (except for July) and celebrates local businesses and families.

The first Thursday of the month has been a Fondren tradition—in some shape or form—for over 20 years, but during COVID, it was shuttered, only to be brought back in a much lighter format over the last few years.

Credit: Tate Nations/Find It In Fondren

Chane, one of its biggest fans and organizers from the last decade, is back to lead the charge.

"I initially said I would never do this," the business owner, artist and father of two said. "And here, six years later, the reason I've been willing to entertain it is because we've seen a little loss of traffic in our retail store in the neighborhood."

Recounting his previous run as creative director for the event, Chane emphasized the importance of simplicity and efficiency, saying he'd pick the most time-consuming elements and step away from those. "I once booked 26 bands for one night, "and I look back on it now, and it just scares the mess out of me that I even tried that," he said.

Neighborhood synergy is vital in this endeavor, with local businesses like The Bean (owner Kristy Buchanan is his "co-conspirator" in the event), The Capri and The Pig and Pint contributing to the event's success. Chane hopes to create a more sustainable and business-inclusive experience by concentrating on internal resources and not allowing outside vendors. "We'll allow more people from our neighborhood to come onto the sidewalks, such as Fondren Fitness, Special Olympics, and Fondren Guitars."

Security and safety measures are assured, with partnerships formed with law enforcement and security agencies to provide an environment for attendees of all ages, including families and their furry "on-leash" companions. "I would feel pretty confident to say it's probably going to be the safest place in Jackson," he added.

Chane noted Fondren Renaissance Executive Director Rebecca Garrison's contributions to the first Thursday event, highlighting her role in maintaining the event's momentum with Fondren Live. "[I give] a lot of credit to her for kind of place-holding first Thursdays on the interim basis, being a one-woman show, coming in and kind of holding things together," he remarked.

Fondren Block Party hopes to honor traditions while introducing new ideas to make it even more exciting. "Expect some surprises. As we get into it, we'll see what we have to work with, including some of our supporting partners, and come up with fresh ideas. We feel like we're going to have space to put in some fun Easter eggs to make people feel like, 'Well, I've gotta go.'"

Paul Wolf


Paul Wolf

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