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Quad-City Times Bix 7: New Bix Block Parties will promote Davenport businesses
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Quad-City Times Bix 7: New Bix Block Parties will promote Davenport businesses

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Bix Block Parties, a two-day series of events, will replace the Bix7 Street Fest this year. The change was made to help local businesses, rather than having an event that features mostly out-of-town vendors.

The Downtown Davenport Partnership hopes to draw Quad-Citians to local businesses with Bix Block Parties, a two-day series of events on July 23 and July 24, during the Quad-City Times Bix 7. 

More than 20 downtown businesses will provide food and entertainment at five locations that stretch from the Rock Island Arsenal Bridge to Centennial Bridge, throughout east, south and west downtown, according to a news release. 

The Downtown Davenport Partnership previously held Street Fest during Bix 7 weekend, closing off 2nd Street for traveling vendors.

Jason Gilliland, the partnership's director of events, said Street Fest was originally designed to draw people downtown, but with all the growth the area has seen in the past 10 to 15 years, plenty of businesses are capable of holding their own events. 

Instead of bringing in vendors and putting on their own activities, the partnership is going to help local businesses generate their own revenue. 

"We wanted to give the businesses the opportunity to showcase themselves," Gilliland said. 

Businesses participating in the block parties were chosen to receive event grants from the nonprofit to aid in event costs such as security, production costs and PPE equipment. 

The grants fund 50 percent of event costs up to $5,000. While they are being applied to the block parties right now, businesses can apply for the grants with different events. 

Gilliland said he is also helping businesses navigate city processes like event applications and steps to confirm road closures. The partnership will promote the businesses' events on social media and through media partners. 

The partnership is planning to make the block parties a staple of Bix 7 weekend. 

When Bix 7 went virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19, the partnership scrapped Street Fest and instead encouraged people to visit brick and mortar businesses, which usually had saw a boost in sales during that period. 

After the pandemic and the downtown flooding two years ago, the Downtown Davenport Partnership wants to support these businesses in promoting themselves in the community. 

"This is a big weekend for businesses downtown so we want to make sure they can capitalize on it as much as possible," Gilliland said. 


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