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Downtown Iowa City will allow open containers - for one night this summer

The Ped Mall is part of the seven-block area that will be designated for Iowa City's Downtown Block Party in June.

Iowa City is throwing a block party this summer - and you'll be able to take your drink of choice around downtown with you.

The Iowa City City Council unanimously approved an amendment to their open container ordinance on Tuesday - allowing patrons to the Downtown District's Downtown Block Party on June 24 to carry alcohol beverages around during the bash - with a few important stipulations.

"It is just wine or beer," assistant to the city manager Simon Andrew said on Wednesday. "That's what the temporary license that the Downtown District is holding covers - and it has to be in a pre-approved glass that the Downtown District will be selling as well."

The District will be closing off an approximately-seven-block area of downtown for the party - between Iowa Avenue and College Street and Clinton and Linn Streets. (Note: The attached video mistakenly states that the block party's area cuts off at Dubuque Street, rather than Clinton.) All businesses in that area will participate in the block party - complementing extra activities in the streets.

"We're going to have a whole bunch of programming on the streets," Downtown District director of operations Betsy Potter said on Wednesday, "and then the ordinance change...allows for the ability for you to take your beer or wine from a bar or restaurant into the streets and enjoy the programming with an open container during this event."

"There's not going to be beer tents you stand in line at to get drinks," she adds. "You will walk into our businesses - to the restaurants and to the bars - to get the drinks you like, along with the food."

No matter where folks decide to wander with their beverages at the party, it's a new experience for everyone involved.

"It's something that - especially in the summertime when a good chunk of our population leaves - it's really great that we have the Downtown District planning all this programming," Andrew said. "It keeps people coming downtown, keeps those businesses thriving."

"It's really gonna feel like a block party," Potter said. "Everybody's gonna be participating. Everybody's gonna be out - doors open, really taking advantage of the night - and all of the people that we hope to be down here."

Potter says the hope is to have around 15,000 guests during the six-hour event. Tickets for the block party go on sale on Monday - and can be purchased through the event website.

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