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The downtown party kicks off the night before Celebrate Hillsboro on Main Street.

Downtown Hillsboro's annual Block Party returns to Main Street on Friday, July 19, for an evening of fun ahead of Saturday's Celebrate Hillsboro festival July 20.

The event has become a staple in downtown the night before Celebrate. As city crews shut down the area to prepare for the morning's festivities, local businesses have taken advantage of the closure to host a special night to celebrate the downtown.

"We have as many retailers and restaurants as we can staying open as late as possible," said E.J. Payne, executive director of the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership, which organizes the Block Party. "We're focusing on activities to keep people occupied and exploring the businesses throughout the night.

Payne said that while Celebrate Hillsboro draws the big crowds, the Block Party the evening before is a more casual, intimate affair.

"Celebrate is about the whole community and it uses the downtown as its living room, but the Block Party is really focused on celebrating the downtown as its own thing," Payne said.

Hillsboro Downtown Partnership is a local nonprofit aimed at promoting downtown businesses.

Two stages of live music will be on hand during the Block Party, Payne said. The two blocks between Second and Fourth streets will serve as a large outdoor beer garden, with outdoor games such as cornhole to keep partygoers having fun.

"Take your drink, walk down the street and check out the stores," Payne said.

The downtown is used regularly for events and farmers markets. Those draw big crowds, but few are there to shop at the local stores. The Block Party is about getting to know the local businesses in downtown, Payne said.

"The businesses get hidden during the big community events," Payne said. "We want people to come down and hang out and see the businesses we have down here and what they're doing. We have new businesses opening seemingly every week. Come rediscover the downtown of 2019."

For years, the Block Party has played host to a Farm to Table dinner, a large dinner for 300 people featuring food from local chefs, bakers and vintners. That event, while popular, was difficult to manage, organizers said. Last year, downtown business The Collective Kitchen took over the event, moving it to their restaurant, 173 N.E. Third Ave. The dinner will be held this Friday, July 12. Tickets are available at CollectiveKitchen.net.

The five-course, $95 dinner includes meals by Boro Burger, Stoneboat Farms, the Meating Place, Black Dog Grill and Decadent Creations Bakery.

"Come and enjoy an exquisite five-course plated meal crafted by Hillsboro's best chefs [and] inspired by amazing home-grown produce, meats and dairy," Collective Kitchen wrote on its website.

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership.

The block party begins at 5 p.m. July 19 and lasts until 11 p.m.

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