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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Block Party weekend

Three days have passed, but the drowning beats of Charlie Rhyner's 08C drums as he goofily matched the beat to Britney Spears' "Toxic" are still (loudly) resonating in my head.

Charlie and his band of half-Emory alumni musicians, including Colin Baylor 08C, and Brandon Kitchel--better known as We Fly Standby--played the EAA's annual Emory Commencement Weekend Block Party, Saturday, May 9, for the second year in a row.

We Fly Standby played their own songs and some signature covers to a packed Asbury Circle as the clouds decided to give us a break (of course, this followed a brief drizzle that gave me a near heart-attack over Emory's sound equipment), but the afternoon soon righted itself with a visit from President & Mrs. Wagner and the music started flowing freely.

Roughly 800 people braved the at-first gloomy, then increasingly sunny skies, and in an almost scarily picture-perfect set of Kodak moments (I bet University Photo loved this), children scarfed down blue cotton candy, families munched on food from Atlanta's famed Varsity, and soon-to-be 2009 alumni battled each other on the bungee run (above) or took on their parents at the gladiator station, while the adults enjoyed Atlanta's local brews--well, the only one that matters, really: SweetWater 420, to be exact (OK, so I'm biased).

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. (Me, cliche? Never.) And the crowd soon cleared out once we cut the lifeline--the music. I watched a lone cotton-candy ball rolled lazily across Asbury Circle, western movie style, as a child scooped up the last "Congrats 2009 Grads!" balloons before kindly (and a little begrudgingly) sharing some with some graduating senior's grandmother.

As the last few dregs of nacho cheese, beer, and chili were sucked up in the wake, I wistfully watched the almost-grads march off Asbury Circle one last time, remembering my own Block Party on McDonough Field. Little do they know, they'll be back next year.

This place and the memories are just too hard to resist. (Plus, free Varsity and cotton candy? Who in their right mind would want to resist?

--Cassie Young 07C, program development coordinator, Emory Commencement Weekend, EAA

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