I've often been told, "If you can't say something nice, Don't say anything at all."
I've considered that, pondered it, and decided that in this case, I just can't do it.
Rock the Block with Chris Paul, Winston-Salem's end-of-summer festival, really didn't do much for me at all. Yes, there were a lot of people. Yes, there were stages with live music. Yes, there was a Kid's Zone. But for this mom with two small girls (one being pushed in a stroller), the festival was not. fun. at. all.
We parked in the Cherry Street parking deck, and got a great weekend deal of $2. Then we headed across the street to the Kid's Zone, and paid the $1 for each child to have unlimited play. The "play" consisted of less than 10 bouncy houses (not enough for the amount of kids, it was an easy 10 minutes in each line.) There was also a balloon lady and face-painting. There were events scheduled on a stage, but we were not there at the appropriate time. There were also hula hoops scattered in a big open area, and that's where we started out. The girls did have a great time with the hula hoops. On to the bouncy slide, where a 10-minute wait gave you once slide down. Then to a bouncy house, where a 15-minute wait gave you five minutes of bouncing pleasure. There was a type of "air tee-ball" where you could hit a plastic ball suspended by air after a 10-minute line. And then the girls were tired of waiting in line, so we hula hooped some more.
Alas, this Mom wanted to see more, do more than hula hoop in the basement of the Benton Convention Center all night. So we escaped to the streets of Downtown to explore the rest of the festival.
What we encountered on the streets were people. Lots and lots of people. Lots and lots and lots of people. There were thousands of other people exploring the rest of the festival. Honestly, for us, there was nothing left for us to do. We were among the throngs of people traversing Cherry and Fourth Streets. Too many people, packed tight like sardines, with very few vendors or activities. There was live music, and that honestly seemed to be it for me. We got our over-priced food ($3 for a hot dog, $14 for an Italian sausage and french fries. Yes, I know those are typical prices for this type of event. But highly ridiculous and highway robbery, in my opinion.) The food vendor was severely understaffed, and we ended up waiting 15-20 minutes for the french fries. We found a quiet corner in the entrance to the Winston-Salem Journal and ate our supper, and headed back to the Kid's Zone. On our second trip there, the girls weren't even interested in the bounceys. They went straight to the hula hoops and there we stayed for another thirty minutes or so.
This was my first time attending Rock the Block. I was super happy that it got moved to Saturday with extended hours. I just expected it to be more of a family event, with lots and lots to do. Sadly, it was not at all what I expected. There were people having fun... I saw lots of teenagers running around having a great time. I saw singles in bars with doors wide open dancing and having a great time. I also saw harried families with young kids looking for something for them. I just didn't find it. At the end, I wished that I had gone to Bethabara Park for the Apple Fest, instead.
Here at Piedmont Triad Living, my goal is to find inexpensive, fun family events. Unfortunately, I don't feel Rock the Block met either of those criteria.
I have just gone back to the website, and I see they are asking for your opinion. You might win a year's supply of chips and salsa! If you went and have an opinion, you can take the survey here.
And if you went, and you had a great time, let me know! I'd love to hear everyone's experiences about Rock the Block!