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Mashup Award Winners and circus performers (Photo by Kristin Brown)

The City, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and Northwestern University threw a party on Howard Street the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 29, and a good time was had by all. The MashUp gives people involved with Evanston businesses, nonprofits, City government and the University an opportunity to mix, mingle and share ideas while partaking of food and drink from local establishments.

The theme of MashUp 2021 was “Welcome back, Evanston,” acknowledging that it has been two years since the last MashUp and that people are eager – but still cautious – about gathering in large numbers. With more than 80% of eligible Evanstonians fully vaccinated and infection rates remaining relatively low, organizers were happy to welcome attendees, who strapped on purple wristbands once they provided proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19.

From 2010 to 2019, the MashUp took place under a large tent at the eastern edge of the Northwestern campus. In 2021, revelers were invited to experience Palmhouse, a relatively new event space on Howard Street in Evanston. Palmhouse extended its 10,000 square feet of high-ceiling indoor space with the addition of a large tent to the east and several seating areas along the sidewalk.

Dave Stumpf of Rotary International and the Evanston Chamber said he liked the space adding, “I wasn’t sure what to expect when they said ‘block party.’ There’s a lot of dimensionality to the lighting, inside and out. It feels more elegant.”

MashUp also makes awards to highlight recent accomplishments of Evanstonians. Rather than stop the party for lengthy speeches and presentations, the organizers opted for a parade led by circus performers, followed by a juggling Mayor Daniel Biss, and the awardees. Northwestern University President Morton Shapiro and ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon received the Catalyst Award. Police Sergeant Tosha Wilson won the Corinne Passage Spirit of Evanston Award for her entrepreneurial work with Boosting Black Business and launching The Aux.

Eli Coustan, Margaret Dillingham and Olivia Ohlson were each recognized as Future of Evanston Award winners. Finally, five businesses received MashUp Moolah:
Butcher Boy Recording Studio, C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, Evanston Present and Future, Evanston Pride, and Work Ethic Program.

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