Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts back to school bash for teens in Pack Square Park

Press release from the City of Asheville

As summer break comes to an end, teens can celebrate the start of a new school year with music, games, giveaways, dancing, performances, photo booths, and more courtesy of Asheville Parks & Recreation. Tha After Party: Summer Bash ‘22 takes place from 7-10 p.m. in Pack Square Park (80 Court Plaza) on Thursday, August 18. The free block party-style event follows a back-to-school fair in the same space for younger students, the United for Youth Block Party.

“Teenage years are unique, to say the least,” according to D. Tyrell McGirt, Director of Asheville Parks & Recreation. “Anyone who works with – or has been – a teenager recognizes the importance of decisions made during this time in building personalities, interests, and foundations for future success. Our team strives to offer diverse programs and activities for everyone in Asheville from toddlers to older adults. Recreational opportunities for teens must include even more variety as these young adults are absorbing so many new experiences. Tha After Party incorporates that same goal with something for everyone. It’s a great way to cap off summer break and get excited about a new school year.”

Teens can expect a high-key mood with a DJ, inflatable jousting ring, games, dance performances from area step troops, giveaways, treats, and appearances from the Carolina Panthers’ Sir Purr, The Asheville Tourists’ Mr. Moon, and UNC Asheville’s Rocky. Slay the Mic’s Elizabeth Lashay will bring fire as the evening’s MC. The evening also promises surprises throughout.

According to McGirt, the last time Asheville teens started a school year without COVID-19 disruptions was three years ago in 2019, so Tha After Party may signal somewhat of a return to normal. While many local back-to-school events take aim at younger students, teens don’t have as many options. During a formative time when hormones, self-doubt, and personal responsibility play outsized roles in physical, cognitive, and emotional development, tailoring the event to this age group is organizers’ top priority. The City of Asheville and other organizations formed the United for Youth network to ensure all local students graduate high school ready to be an active participant in the community and prepared for a trade school, college, or career.

In addition to special events like Tha After Party, Asheville Parks & Recreation offers free programs for teens and young adults including fitness center memberships (ages 16 and under must visit with an adult); open gym times for basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and other team sports; cooking and art classes; movie and roller skate nights; anime, board game, role playing, trivia, and writing clubs; teen after-school programs; and urban parks throughout the city with areas dedicated to basketball, tennis, pickleball, volleyball, disc golf, and multi-use sports fields; and open spaces for relaxing, throwing a frisbee, or connecting with nature.

Asheville Parks & Recreation

Established in 1956, the Asheville Parks & Recreation Department manages a unique collection of more than 65 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers that offer a variety of wellness-, education-, and culture-related programs for Ashevillians of all ages. With 8 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, its complete portfolio acts as the foundation of a vibrant hub for the people of Asheville to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable and walkable city.

Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better and safer place when everyone from infants to retirees has the opportunity to be supported, healthy, and successful, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first nationally-accredited municipal recreation department in the United States. For the latest updates, follow the department on Facebook @aprca and Instagram @ashevilleparksandrecreation or visit

Find a copy of this press release on Asheville City Source.

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