McCarter Theatre Center hosts its sixth summer block party Aug. 24

What’s your favorite part of summer? Is it the balmy air, hot sun and rain storms? Is it the consecutive number of school-free days, the opportunity for vacation, the busy downtown area of Princeton waiting to be strolled? There is, of course, summery food to eat, such as watermelon and Jersey corn, and music to be heard at Palmer Square every Saturday afternoon on the lawn.

But another summer favorite that comes around just in time as August begins to dwindle is the McCarter Theatre block party. For the last five years, the parking lot of McCarter Theatre Center on 91 University Place escapes its usual scene of lines filtering into the glass double doors for an 8 p.m. show. Instead, it’s full of people, full of music and full of food. College Road, between Alexander Road and University Place, will be closed to allow the whole community to enjoy the fun free of charge.

McCarter always hosts the party just before the start of its 2016-2017 season. This year, it will be on Aug. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m., with a rain date scheduled for the following evening.

“Our annual Block Party is a great kickoff to our season,” said its director of public relations, Tom Miller. “We are always incredibly grateful for the support and love given to us from folks around the region throughout the year. This event gives us, as an organization, an opportunity to give back and say ‘thank you’ by providing a fun afternoon/evening of family events and activities, not to mention some amazing food.”

While the entertainment is free and open to the public, food from a slew of local eateries and food trucks will be on hand for when your stomach is rumbling. There will be both savory and sweet available with a bill of fare ranging from tacos to surf and turf, hot dogs, barbecue and thin crust pizza, Mediterranean cuisine, as well as ice cream, crepes and cheesecakes. Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra will be supplying the tunes throughout the neighborhood. The orchestra is comprised of some of the top high school and college jazz musicians from around the state and the Greater Philadelphia area. Theater staff will be allowing partygoers to take a peek behind the scenes with backstage tours being one of the evening’s highlights. There will be family friendly scavenger hunts, crafts hosted by Artsparks, a beer garden for adults and professional face painting.

Attendees will be given the opportunity to win prizes and, just for coming to the party, will be given exclusive access to tickets for some of the season’s programs. Some of these include all-ages shows such as the Peking Acrobats, Laurie Berkner Band, “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “Cinderella” and the McCarter reimagined classic, “A Christmas Carol.”


For more information about the block party, visit or call (609) 258-2787.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida