DrinkleFest kicks of Park(ing) Day and demonstrates Saskatoon’s first Parking Patio

In 2013, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Drinkle Building by throwing a giant Better Block Party. It started with a speech by TED speaker Jason Roberts (see youtube link) about better urban planning, followed by a Dixieland Musical Bike Parade to the Drinkle Building. We used the party to demonstrate some great Better Block ideas like outdoor parking patio dining and protected bike lanes. The entire block was closed for the day, and we installed a giant stage, a children’s play area, bike valet, and bike repair booth. The parking patio diners could eat and drink while enjoying local music and culture and many street performers who were hired for the event. Descendants of J.C Drinkle even flew in to enjoy the event.

Drinkle3 Presents Speaker Jason Roberts of BETTER BLOCK -kick off to Park(ING) Day

Jason Roberts speaking at DrinkleFest

BETTER BLOCK co-founder Jason Roberts came to Saskatoon! On September 8, 2013 to kick-off Park(ing) Day YXE with a speech on the BETTER BLOCK project and building sustainable communities, sponsored by Drinkle3. Following the speech, a Dixieland jazz and bike parade headed to the Drinkle3 Building , where a Better Block party was held that included a street demonstration of Jason’s ideas and the Better Block initiative as well as live music and other entertainment.

Better Block was born in 2010 when Roberts and Andrew Howard decided to bring guerilla street redesign tactics to Dallas streets, by taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project has now become an international movement occurring everywhere from Melbourne, Australia to Tehran, Iran, and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell magazine, TED Talks and National Public Radio. Jason’s consulting firm, Team Better Block, was showcased in the US Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale.

The Better Block Project is simple in form: it is a demonstration project which creates temporary bicycle infrastructure, landscaping, café seating, and more to illustrate active streets and places. “Cities around the U.S. and Canada are looking for tools to help redevelop communities that enable multi-modal transportation while increasing economic development, and reducing carbon emissions,” says Roberts. He describes the Better Block project “as a demonstration tool that allows communities to actively engage in the build-out process and provide feedback in real time.”

In addition to originating the Better Block Project, Jason Roberts founded the Oak Cliff Transit Authority to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and spearheaded the city’s effort in garnering a $23 million federal grant to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas. He is also co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and recent candidate for US Congress.

Bike and jazz parade will follow leading to the DRINKLEFEST BETTER BLOCK PARTY, which will demonstrate better bike lanes and parking space cafe dining. The FREE block party will also feature music by Don Griffith and The Crawdaddios, the Young Benjamins, live street entertainment, children’s activities, and an afterparty at Mediterranno.

Don Griffith and the Crawdaddios provide New Orleans style bicycle parade to kick off DrinkleFest

The stage was constantly humming with music by Don Griffith, the Young Benjamins and with performances by Drinkle’s own Filipino Community Association, Alba Flamenco Dance Studio, our own DJ Charly Hustle. The kids play area featured giant foam maker shapes, thanks to the generosity of Children’s Festival, with entertainment by hoola hoopster, juglers, and other performers.

Special Thanks to our many volunteers
Shawn Shaw of Saskatoon Cycles explains the protected bike lane demonstration
Childrens play area provided by Saskatoon Children’s Festival



Read more about Community Initiatives around Drinkle 3.