World Cup block party excites, overwhelms Mass Ave

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Organizers say the World Cup block party downtown was a big hit with a bigger than expected crowd.

The event was held along Massachusetts Avenue, or Mass Ave, between College Avenue and Park Avenue. That area was blocked off, allowing fans to stand on the road and watch three big screens while enjoying food and drinks.

“It’s hard now to look at it and visualize it because all these cars were gone and they were filled with people,” said Tom Dunmore, Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Indy Eleven, as he described Tuesday’s big party.

That’s when Mass Ave’s dining and shopping appeal took a back seat to the world’s most popular sport and one of our country’s most patriotic moments surrounding it.

“I’m surprised people didn’t start climbing the trees, that’s how packed it was,” he said.

Dunmore said the block party was put together in less than a week with the expectation that 2,000-3,000 people would come out. But the place was busting at the seams with an estimated 6,500 to 7,000 fans standing, sitting and cheering wherever there was space.

The block party was supposed to start at 2 p.m., but fans were there by noon.

Bryan Monroe’s food truck was one of a few on hand yesterday, eager to please the hungry crowd. But even before the match ended, Der Pretzel Wagen had nothing left to serve.

“We even ran out of cheese,” he joked, something he said has never happened. “It’s a frustrating thing because, you know. You want to take care of the people that are coming up, and you say ‘Sorry I can’t take care of you,’ but at the same time you know you’re like ‘OK, I sold everything I had.’”

Monroe said not only would he have brought more food, but more trucks would have parked there if they knew the crowd would be so big.

Organizers chose Mass Ave because of its connection to Chatham Tap, the heart of soccer fandom in Indianapolis. And although they stand by that decision, they said next time around they could choose a bigger spot like Monument Circle or the American Legion Mall.

“Indy is so lucky to have a lot of great downtown spaces that can pull off that kind of an event,” said Dunmore.

Despite the large crowd on Mass Ave, Dunmore isn’t ruling out future block parties in that location.

“I think it would be great to do it again for the right game. I think we saw that we could have even had a bigger crowd if we had more space. So it could be that we open up, close down another block on Mass Ave and extend it down,” he said.

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