Preparing for Block Party Weekend

BLOOMSBURG–Tomorrow is the annual Bloomsburg Block Party for university students. It has gained a reputation of creating all kinds of trouble.

This is what Fetterman Avenue looked like last year at Bloomsburg’s annual Block Party Weekend. The Bloomsburg Police Department’s armored Bearcat was hit with beer bottles and pepper spray was sprayed into the crowd.

“It got a little out of hand,” Derrick Backer said.

The Bloomsburg Police Department says it is well prepared so that won’t happen again at this year’s block party, which is this weekend.

“We have officers from all over Columbia County and some of the surrounding counties giving assistance. Even as far out as Pocono Regional Police Department,” Chief Roger Van Loan said.

Police say they plan to have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol related offenses. Cops plan to cite people for underage drinking, having open containers and public drunkenness.

“It’s not a time to be drawing attention to yourself because there will be plenty of eyes to see you,” Van Loan said.

Each year, thousands of students attend the off campus house parties. Police say several students applied for permits this year, meaning they can have more than 150 people outside. Derrick Backer is a senior at Bloomsburg University and says he and his friends plan to be responsible.

“We currently have a permit for block party. We do it through the town. We do it legally. We hire our own security. We clean up,” Backer said.

But not everybody is excited for Block Party Weekend. Tony Sanchez lives in Bloomsburg and says he dreads it every year.

“But if that’s what they’re going to do they’re going to do it,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says he is happy about the extra police presence the Bloomsburg Police Department promises.

“To keep things under control so no one gets hurt or even killed. It’s crazy,” Sanchez said.

Last year, more than 70 people were arrested at Block Party Weekend. Bloomsburg police say most of the parties will take place tomorrow. Cops say they have seen advertising for Block Party Weekend on social media, which could add to the turnout.

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