The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce plans to host a community block party next month to replace its annual dinner.

The event, to be held in the 200 and 300 blocks of Penn Avenue, will feature entertainment, shopping, children’s activities, music and dining.

“It was kind of out-of-the-box thinking,” said Mari Potis, the chamber’s director of membership and events. “We wanted to do something more for the community and businesses. It’s not feasible to have anything inside at this time and after seeing the results of the ice festival this made a lot more sense. It’s a way to bring everybody together in a safer way.”

The family-friendly event will include three stages featuring 24 bands and multicultural performance groups, as well as vendor marketplaces and art exhibits.

“We’re employing 97 musicians,” Potis said. “It’s really nice we’re able to give them a little bit of business because they’ve been displaced for so long.”

Small-business members of the chamber may apply for a free vendor booth in one of three marketplaces along Penn Avenue by visiting

Sarah Effertz, owner of Clarks Summit-based Blu Elefante Event Consulting and Management, is serving as co-chair of the event with Peter Danchak, regional president of PNC Bank. She is looking forward to seeing people have fun in a safe environment.

“I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air for the community to be able to be outside safely and have something to do with their families,” she said. “It’s also going to help support local businesses in our area that had a really trying time, especially the artists and musicians.”

The block party is set from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 7, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 8.

Contact the writer:; 570-348-9100 x5365