15th Annual Silver Room Sound System Block Party includes kids’ area with 20+ participants and performers

The University of Chicago’s Commercial Real Estate Operations group has partnered with local retail store, The Silver Room, to program a special kids’ area at the upcoming Silver Room Sound System Block Party on Saturday, July 21.

The theme of the block party is “Beautiful People,” and the kids’ area is called “Beautiful Kids.” The regular block party hours are 12-10 p.m., and the kids’ area will have shortened hours from 12-6 p.m. All kids’ activities will take place in the private drive area of Harper Court, at 5235 S. Harper Court, just off 53rd Street.

The Silver Room is owned by Eric Williams, a South Side resident and recent Harvard Graduate School of Design Loeb Fellow. Williams originally started the block party in 2002 when his store was located in Wicker Park, and the welcoming, family-friendly celebration of music, art, and culture has grown from its humble beginnings in an alley to a major event estimated to attract 40,000 people to Hyde Park this month.

While families have always been an important element of the block party, this will be the first year the event has a dedicated area just for kids, and many of the participants and performers are local organizations, businesses, and non-profit groups. The “Beautiful Kids” stage features a family yoga activity with kids jamm from 12-12:45 p.m.; 57th Street Books leads a story time and sing-along from 1-1:45 p.m., Hyde Park Suzuki Institute performs from 2-2:45 p.m., and Hyde Park School of Dance performs from 3-3:45 p.m. Students from the Donia Dance and Azania Drum Ensemble of Betty Shabazz Academy perform from 4-4:45 p.m., and Move Me Soul performs from 5-6 p.m. Black Girls Jump will perform double dutch jump roping and instruction from 4-6 p.m. on 53rd Street between Valois Cafeteria and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Robert Burford, also known as “Bob the Bubble Man,” will blow bubbles for kids from 12-6 p.m.

The DuSable Museum of African American History brings its mobile museum to 53rd Street in front of Hyde Park Bank from 12-6 p.m., with an interactive exhibit exploring the life of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable.

Kids can get a unique look into the Pixar process and explore the science and technology behind the films at the Museum of Science & Industry booth from 12-6 p.m. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club brings its over-sized blue foam “Imagination Playground” building blocks from 12-6 p.m. Artists from the Hyde Park Art Center will instruct kids on how to make paper bag puppets as well as create a temporary mural on the wall of Valois Cafeteria from 1-4 p.m. The Oriental Institute will teach kids how to write their names in hieroglyphs and paint their faces with Egyptian art from 12-3 p.m.  Artists from Little Black Pearl will provide face painting and henna tattoos from 12-3 p.m., and Spanki’s World of Face Painting will paint kids’ faces with African tribal designs from 3-6 p.m.

Vanille Patisserie hosts a cupcake decorating station starting at 12 p.m., while supplies last. Bright Horizons/UChicago Child Development Center provides sensory exploration bins and a hands-on cooking experience with Chef Shakira from 12-6 p.m. Brown Books & Paintbrushes will host children’s book authors and storytellers from 12-6 p.m. in its cozy area and outdoor library. Local non-profit groups Cradles to Crayons (12-4 p.m.)  and Hashtag Lunchbag (12-2 p.m.) will lead kids in creating inspirational notes for those in need. Nina Christmas and her N.E.C. Cosmetologist team will provide hair braiding and adornment from 12-3 p.m. Abstract and Apple Juice hosts two painting activities at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – space is limited, so be sure to sign up when you arrive at the kids’ area. For unstructured fun from 12-6 p.m., visit the play area with chalk and hula hoops.

Eric Williams at his Hyde Park store, The Silver Room (Photo by Rob Kozloff)
Graphic from Block Party Website
Robert Burford, “Bob the Bubble Man.” Photo by Stephanie Jensen