CASTLE ROCK — When Robin Frazier’s Kelso high school reunion was canceled due to the pandemic, she decided to hold her own and invite the county.
Frazier is hosting her third block party this summer. It will be held Saturday on the road in front of her Oasis bar and grill, Front Street in Castle Rock. She’s calling the event an “all-school reunion,” meaning, every school and class are invited to make up for the lack of gatherings during the pandemic.
After moving to the Castle Rock area from Kalama just months ago, Robin Frazier almost immediately fell in love with her new small-town home. …
“All the reunions and weddings were canceled for a year and a half,” she said. “We are going to have an old-fashioned street dance.”
The event will shut down Front Avenue from A Street to Cowlitz Street for seating and live music, and kicks off with a chili cookoff and DJ at noon.
A seven-piece band, the Jesters, hits the outdoor stage from 3-7 p.m., bringing horns, rock, funk and a “splash of Mardi Gras,” Frazier said.
From 7-9 p.m., karaoke begins. Attendees are encouraged to wear tie-dyed clothes throughout the day.
The state has allowed Lewis County diners to eat indoors at a limited capacity, while Cowlitz County customers are still stuck with takeout or outside.
Oasis will serve a special menu, which includes barbecue sandwiches and bite-sized battered halibut.
The event is the third block party held by the restaurant this summer, with another — a tentative cornhole tournament — planned in August that will double as a fundraiser for the Castle Rock High School class of 2022.
Frazier said the first event in May was co-sponsored by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce. She also held a sock hop in June on the same block.
“People were just happy to be out and seeing each other,” she said.
Frazier said she coordinates the events by filing paperwork with the city and purchasing the tents and chairs, but all of downtown benefits.
“It’s my way of stepping up for our little community,” she said, noting many businesses continue to struggle from repercussions of pandemic-era restrictions.
The businesses directly surrounding Oasis — NAPA Auto Parts, Pollen Floral Works, Legally Blonde Too and Castle Rock Brake & Alignment — signed off for the events as part of the city’s requirement.
Vault Books & Brews Owner Jennifer Engkraf said the block parties bring extra foot traffic downtown, where her business is located on Cowlitz Street. She said she’s noticed a recent increase in out-of-town customers, who have “heard of Castle Rock, but never been.”
“It is nice to see all the new faces,” Engkraf said.