Uptown arrives: CWRU celebrates dedication with Blue Block Party, Sept. 27

Inventive talents like those of (from left) Ian Charnas, operations manager at think[box]; Bernadette Marconi, an industrial design student from the Cleveland Institute of Art; and Jonny Hall, electrical engineering graduate student, are creating 500 motion-activated fireflies that will glow during The Blue Block Party next Thursday, Sept. 27, on Toby’s Plaza at Case Western Reserve University.
Celebrate the grand opening and dedication of the Uptown project and Toby’s Plaza at the Blue Block Party, a dynamic street festival for the campus community on Sept. 27.

Hosted by Case Western Reserve and MRN Ltd., the project’s developer, the Blue Block Party will offer a sneak peek at University Circle’s newest mix of apartments, retail shops and restaurants in an evening of music, food and more.

The street festival will bring together geek and chic at the university’s Toby’s Plaza, 11412 Euclid Ave. (at Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue), for the official ribbon-cutting for Uptown and Toby’s Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m., followed by an evening of public activities that showcase the new Uptown from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Partygoers also will see a new look for The Triangle, the university-owned student apartments behind the south side of Uptown. The Triangle’s street level has been redeveloped with new stores and restaurants to complement retail outlets along the pedestrian-friendly Uptown Alley.

“The Blue Block Party is a way to welcome our new neighbors,” said Lara Kalafatis, vice president for university relations. “It gives the campus community a chance to see Uptown.”

Blue Block party guests also will see the newly finished Toby’s Plaza, a special gift from Case Western Reserve University alumna Toby Devan Lewis. This vibrant outdoor plaza is designed as a public gathering space in the city, where residents, students and visitors can “expect the unexpected,’’ Kalafatis said, “with unique programming, spontaneous performances and site-specific installations using the creativity of our students and alums.”

The plaza combines stone pavers, birch trees and grass to connect the new Museum of Contemporary Art to Uptown.

The block party also kicks off the university’s 2012 Homecoming weekend for returning alumni, parents and students with a party that upholds the tradition of last year’s Blue Bash, but with a different twist, added Kalafatis.

New Uptown residents include tenants from the 114 new housing units, some of which will be available for touring during the party, and street-level retail businesses, including: Accent, Barnes & Noble bookstore, Constantino’s Market, Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, Panera Bread Co., Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Anne van H. Boutique, ABC the Tavern, Starbucks and Verizon Wireless.

Many have already opened. Others are yet to come, offering the campus community an early, in-progress peek.

The party will feature offerings from many of the retailers, and music and dance performances by Case Western Reserve students and alumni. Also, the birch trees of Toby’s Plaza will glow with 500 fireflies created by Case Western Reserve students demonstrating the dynamics of art and engineering.

For more information, visit www.uptowncleveland.com.