The popular downtown Erie block parties kick off this Thursday night.

Each week, the event brings hundreds of people into the city.

The Erie Seawolves are hosting the first block party of the season, at Jerry Uht Park.

The Erie Downtown partnership hosts the summer block parties as a way to bring people into downtown Erie, showcasing businesses but also helping out the community.

As it's not all just for a good time, the 9 scheduled block parties also raise money for  local charities.

Last year, the block parties raised $44,000 for several different charities.

"This is the 9th year that we've been doing this event. And we're very pleased with the generosity of these people because most of these dollars are raised one dollar at a time, so it's very generous of the community to participate," said John Buchna, CEO of the Erie Downtown Partnership.

The Erie Seawolves are hosting Thursday night's block party, with the Erie YMCA being the charity that's going to benefit.

It's actually a more family-oriented event, with a kid-band kicking it all off this Thursday night at 5:30, followed by the two main bands at 6.

At 8:15, The Y wants to break an Erie record with the most people singing the song YMCA at one time, to take part in that, be at the park by 8:15.

And because the events have become so popular, organizers have hired more security, "This year we've added more, additional security," said Buchna. "We do hire off duty city of Erie police officers and we have increased the number this year by hiring 2 more officers at each event," Buchna added.

For more information on the weekly block parties, or for a full lineup of events, go to