If you showed up at Lazier Field on Thursday evening, you could have gotten the Willies.

Willie the Wildcat.

And Willie the Wildkit.

The Northwestern University mascot, and the Evanston Township High School mascot were part of the festivities at the annual ‘Kits, ‘Cats, and Kids Block Party, where students and families from School District 65, District 202 (ETHS), and Northwestern University got together to have fun.

Face painting was one of many activities at the Block Party.

“It’s all about the different educational communities getting coming together to support each other,” said Erin Claeyz, the Community Service Coordinator at ETHS.

There were kids’ games, a bouncy house, food, and lots of different organizations, some of which were raising funds for charity.

ETHS Community Service fund-raising table.

ETHS Community Service was collecting donations for pediatric cancer research, said department intern Jonathan Van De Loo.

For one dollar, you could spin the wheel to win a prize, with your dollar going to the charity.

District 202 Superintendent Marcus Campbell said he’s been to all of the ‘Kits, ‘Cats, and Kids events over the years.

This year, he said, there were 50 vendors and partners (such as student and community groups), versus 32 last year.

“There’s a wide cross-section of folks” at Lazier Field, Campbell said, an event he described as “very special.”

The marching bands from both NU and ETHS provided a musical background.

And everyone in the crowd seemed to echo the same word … “community.”

Jacqui McGuire, who took her son Finn’s photo with Willie the Wildkit, said “we love it and feel like part of the community.”

Her husband, Kevin Davitt, said the block party helps build unity in a “town and gown community” like Evanston.

And their son, eight-year-old Finn Davitt, said he “liked the atmosphere.”

Finn is a third-grader at Lincolnwood Elementary, and his mom said it was exciting to attend an event at ETHS, “the school Finn will attend some day.”

And who knows, if Finn goes to Northwestern after that, he’ll be moving from Willie the Wildkit to Willie the Wildcat.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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