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MIT pulls out stops for block party

Once President Susan Hockfield has been officially inaugurated, it will be time to party!

Musicians, dancers, magicians and jugglers will entertain the crowds at an Uncommon Block Party, the culminating event of the weeklong celebration held to mark the inauguration. With rain in the forecast, the party will take place in the Johnson Athletic Center and Rockwell Cage from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to wander, sample a rich choice of foods--from the healthy and spicy to the sweet and decadent--and enjoy myriad activities from the artistic to the aerobic.

It is planned as a day filled with "interesting talent that you won't see every day," said Ted Johnson of the MIT Community Services Office and the Uncommon Block Party Committee.

More than 25 different MIT performing groups will be featured at the block party, the largest event of its kind ever held at MIT. Three stages will be set up for music and dance, and guests will get a chance to try origami, juggling and silk screening as well as salsa, Indian classical dance, a cappella singing and much more.

The MIT Muses, Mariachi Internacional del Tecnolugico and Happy the Clown are slated to perform. There will also be entertainment from MIT student and American Idol participant Chris Vu and from the MIT Juggling Club, among others.

Those who enjoy testing their skills will likely enjoy the "Field of Games": Conquer the climbing wall, run an obstacle course in a clear, plastic bubble or play chess with giant pieces. There will also be inflatable games, bungee basketball and other unusual activities.

At least 2,000 people are expected to attend the party, according to Johnson, who added that he hopes the event brings students together with faculty and staff and their families, since the event is designed to appeal to all ages. For more information, visit:

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 4, 2005 (download PDF).

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