Annual Portsmouth Block Party returns to offer summer fun, community engagement


By Kasie McCreary - [email protected]



Established in 2017, the annual Portsmouth Block Party offers free family friendly entertainment to area residents. Photo Courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.

Established in 2017, the annual Portsmouth Block Party offers free family friendly entertainment to area residents. Photo Courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.


The Portsmouth Block Party will feature games, attractions, live music, food and more. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.


Vendors are still able to register for the event by contacting Watch Me Grow Ohio through their Facebook page. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.


PORTSMOUTH—The annual Portsmouth Block Party will return to 3rd Street this weekend with the help of Watch Me Grow Ohio, Drew Carter, and several community partners eager to unite Scioto County residents.

When Drew Carter, co-founder of Watch Me Grow Ohio, realized that not everyone in the community seemed to have the same opportunities to enjoy summer fun together, he wanted to try to offer an inclusive solution.

“I noticed a lot of families not being able to afford vacations or even trips to the [Scioto County] Fair without worrying about not paying a bill. It was a community effort in the beginning and I received small donations from random community members and [paid] out of pocket for much of it. In 2017 the Portsmouth Block Party was organized and executed in less than a week. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I knew we had to make it an annual event,” Carter said.

Since then, the event has grown both in size and popularity. Like many community events, the block party was sidelined during the height of the COVID pandemic, but Carter is eager to see people return to the event in full force.

Partygoers can expect a wide array of family friendly entertainment, as well as vendors, community leaders and organizations there to offer community resources and information.

“This year we have Barker’s Family Petting Zoo and they’re bringing a lot of cool exotic and farm animals. They’re bringing a baby camel which I believe will get a lot of attention. We’ll have the mechanical bull, dunk tank, games, inflatables, live music, and free food. Stuffin Fun, S’mores Suds, and a wide range of other vendors will be at the Portsmouth Block Party this year,” Carter explained.

The Portsmouth Block Party is held on Shawnee State University’s campus, which Carter considers to be the ideal location to host the event.

“Shawnee State University has been great letting us host the party on campus. I chose to use SSU as the hosting site because I felt it was neutral ground for the community. Regardless of your social class, race, gender, religion, sexual preference, most people feel comfortable at SSU. Plus it helped that 3rd Street is already blocked off and wouldn’t be an issue for the city,” Carter said.

Carter is grateful for not only SSU’s involvement but for several community partners who support the event and its mission.

“The Glockner Family of Dealerships, Neal Hatcher, WesBanco, Fourteenth Street Community Center, Bianca Hamrick, Rob Black, Portsmouth Police Department, Portsmouth Fire Department, Papa John’s, Refuge, Patriots Travel Center, Portsmouth Area Chambers of Commerce, and King’s Daughter Medical Center are this year’s community partners,” he said.

The Portsmouth Block Party is one of the many ways in which Watch Me Grow Ohio and Carter work to foster community engagement for area youth and their families. The nonprofit organization serves at risk youth by offering an array of free, unique programming designed to encourage “academic growth, physical and emotional health and wellness, and community involvement,” according to their website.

Carter explained that any community members who wish to support the event as volunteers are more than welcome to reach out by messaging the Watch Me Grow Ohio Facebook page. Volunteers are needed to monitor inflatables, games and rides, as well as to serve and transport food.

Community vendors are still able to register for the block party and may do so by messaging the Watch Me Grow Ohio Facebook page or calling (740) 821-6822. Carter explained that there is a $25 registration fee for vendors, but that most nonprofit organizations are able to set up informational booths free of charge.

As the community prepares to begin its packed calendar of summer festivities, Carter hopes that the community remembers the Portsmouth Block Party in their plans.

“It is absolutely free and a family friendly event. This is the perfect event to come meet some of your community leaders and enjoy the beautiful views of Shawnee State University,” he said.

The Portsmouth Block Party will take place on Saturday, June 4 from 5pm until 9pm on Shawnee State University’s campus. Follow Watch Me Grow Ohio on Facebook, or online at watchmegrowohio.org.

Established in 2017, the annual Portsmouth Block Party offers free family friendly entertainment to area residents. Photo Courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_BlockParty1.jpgEstablished in 2017, the annual Portsmouth Block Party offers free family friendly entertainment to area residents. Photo Courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.

The Portsmouth Block Party will feature games, attractions, live music, food and more. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_BlockParty4.jpgThe Portsmouth Block Party will feature games, attractions, live music, food and more. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.

Vendors are still able to register for the event by contacting Watch Me Grow Ohio through their Facebook page. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_BlockParty2.jpgVendors are still able to register for the event by contacting Watch Me Grow Ohio through their Facebook page. Photo courtesy of watchmegrowohio.org.

By Kasie McCreary

[email protected]

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved