“This already has been a great experience and the event has grown bigger every year. It’s been very well received from the community and they have really supported it. I’m really happy that we are in year three and we’re really looking forward to another successful event,” says Julian Walters, a longtime Madison south sider who founded the annual Ju-Ju’s Block Party.
Walters and many people in the Madison South Side community are looking forward to the 3rd annual Ju-Ju’s Block Party, titled “Better Together,” that will take place Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Penn Park.
“Like previous years, we’re going to have basketball and we’re going to have backpacks full of supplies giveaways,” Walters says. “We’re going to have free clothes and free food. We’re raffling off a $500 Target card to a family to help with back-to-school shopping. We’ll have haircuts and hairstylists there who take care of the kids’ hair.
“We think it’s important that the students show up at school looking good and feeling good and being prepared and we feel that will parlay into a successful first day and hopefully, a successful school year,” he adds.
Ju Ju’s Block Party has a mission to encourage kids to stay on a positive track through community engagement and activities. A big part of the annual Ju-Ju’s Block party is highlighting the Black excellence that goes on in the community.
“We want to create an environment for local talent to share their gifts with the community because we have a lot of it here n Madison,” Walters says.
Dj MC Scott of Grown Folks Music will perform under the pavilion at Penn Park and DJ G Money will be deejaying by the basketball courts.
“We are going to have bouncy houses out there and characters and face painting. We want people to enjoy their time. I want it to feel like a big, family BBQ at the park,” Walters says. “It’s going to be something that all ages can enjoy and experience and a family-fun day.”
This year, Walters has announced that they will be awarding a $2,000 scholarship to a graduating senior with plans of attending college in the fall. That scholarship announcement will be made at halftime of the basketball championship game. “The scholarship is our main addition this year and it’s something that we want to continue every year,” Walters says.
The streetball tournament is a highlight of the event with many talented players and teams competing on the Penn Park courts to see who will be crowned the 2023 streetball champs.
“We will have 8 teams playing in the basketball tournament this year … we will be using both courts,” Walters says. “It should be really competitive.”
Before the streetball tournament, the block party will offer a free basketball clinic for boys and girls of high school age and younger. At 10 a.m., kids are encouraged to come out to the park to learn from Earl Lewis, a former collegiate athlete and top trainer in the area. The session will last for an hour before the streetball tournament begins.
The theme for the 3rd annual Ju-Ju’s Block Party is “Better Together.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a while,” Walters says. “And I’m looking forward to the next day, when we have our sponsorship brunch where I can thank the people who have poured into me and into this event since its inception.… It’s been three years and I couldn’t do this without the community’s support.”