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    Dance party to take over Cambridge street

    Dancers partied in front of Cambridge City Hall in 2013.
    Laurie Swope for The Globe/File
    Dancers partied in front of Cambridge City Hall in 2013.

    In 1996, when Cambridge first hosted an outdoor municipal dance party, organizers blocked off a small portion of Massachusetts Avenue to accommodate attendees looking to get their groove on.

    But each year since then, as interest in the event has swelled, city officials have had to expand the parameters. The dance party June 26 will be no exception. The party will stretch from City Hall as far back as Prospect Street.

    “We are expecting something like 13,000 people,” said Cambridge spokeswoman Ini Tomeu. “It gets to such a capacity that there’s no way to describe the excitement of the night. It’s like a community celebration and kick off of the summer.”

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    Tomeu said at the start of the dance party, which begins at 7 p.m., on June 26 in front of City Hall, mostly families will be gathered on the impromptu dance floor, swaying to the beats blaring from the speakers. As it gets darker, the night crowd emerges and stays until midnight.

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    “It’s an amazing atmosphere that night, it’s electrifying. There’s a DJ playing a variety of music to appeal to all ages, and there’s always the latest dance crazes and popular songs,” she said.

    People can expect to see dancers clearing the street to make way for professional performances. and, most likely, a large Conga line.

    When the sun goes down, a light show is also displayed on the front façade of City Hall, adding to the atmosphere. The event is free, and open to the public.

    In 2013, Cambridge officials estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 people participated in its City Dance Party, setting a personal record for the annual event. Around the same number showed up last year.

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    This year’s may top that, officials said.

    Cambridge Mayor David Maher said the dance party has consistently been one of the biggest events the city hosts.

    “If you’re anywhere near Cambridge on [that] evening ... you can’t miss it,” he said.

    Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.