Old-Fashioned Block Party in Highland

Photos by Lauren Thomas.

As the sun went down and the lights from storefronts and strings of Chinese lanterns gleamed like beacons, country music was blaring from a loudspeaker on Vineyard Avenue in Highland.

Standing next to their parents, a few kids began to jump up and down. Two boys at a nearby table play with plush dolls — one a camouflaged teddy bear and the other a green frog — making them dance to the rhythm. Around them, people held tight to chili dogs and other strange and glorious culinary concoctions while they eat and relax.

Mark Elia is the creator of one of the strangest food items served at the Town of Lloyd’s Old-Fashioned Fall Block Party. Elia’s Texas Parfait looks almost like a milkshake or smoothie — the parfait is a lot less sweet than it is savory.

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The Texas Parfait is a cup lined at the bottom with pulled pork, then a layer of coleslaw, then mashed potatoes, barbecue sauce garnished on top with a cherry tomato. Sticking out the side of the cup is a barbecued spare rib.

“We saw a picture of this sort of one,” explained Elia, adding that his Texas Parfait took that initial idea from that photograph and built and built. “We developed it and showed it off at the Ribfest last year.”

The Hudson Valley Ribfest was good to Elia’s Catering Co. & House of Sausage, of which Elia is the owner and proprietor. This year is the first time they’ve had the parfait at the Block Party.

Highland’s block party obsession started back in 2008, when the Town of Lloyd event planners started to long for something simple — something that could take them back to, for nostalgia’s sake, a former time. The event planners were looking for something to showcase the hamlet center in Highland. Nothing worked better than just closing down a road and letting people do what they do best — eat, relax, chat, thrill at good music and dance.

“Each year, we try to do a different theme. This year’s theme is line dancing,” explains Darlene Plavchak, a member of the town’s event planning group.

For businesses on Vineyard, it gives them a chance to stay open later than they otherwise might and to serve people some good food. It also shows off Highland’s beautiful downtown core.

Initially, the block parties happened three times a year. However, the event planners have scaled that back to one block party in the spring and one in the fall.

For more information about what’s going on in Highland, search for “Town of Lloyd Events Committee” on Facebook to check for upcoming events postings. ++

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