Every year, usually in the mid-summer, my block would throw a huge block party for the neighborhood. It was a way for parents to relax and get together, get their kids out of the house, and take the opportunity to hang-out, have some amazing food, and maybe get in a couple of games or so. We would go all out, getting DJ equipment for music, candy for a huge scavenger hunt, and plenty and plenty of soda, drinks, desserts, and anything else you can imagine. They, for my childhood, were pretty legendary, and I was thankful for the memories that were made from them. If you are curious of having a neighborhood block party of your own, there are a few things to consider. We made it easy though with this little guide:
Step One - Organize
Maybe you've just moved to your block, or maybe you've lived there for several years but still don't know most of your neighbors. Deciding to organize a party in the street with your neighbors is a great way to help create community on your block. Not only will you get to know the people who help you organize the party, but you'll get to know everyone who decides to attend.
Even a relatively laid-back block party needs planning. It is recommended that you begin to start planning for your party about three months before you want to host it. It is also important to gather the following starter items to ensure that everything will run smoothly:
- a group of five to seven dedicated volunteers;
- a city permit (necessary in some communities, and usually free; check with your local representative)
- free food and soft drinks, provided by billing your party as a potluck
- tables to hold the food and drinks;
- a keg or two, and lots of ice;
- some signage, for before and during the party;
- ice cream, preferably donated from a local creamery or provided at a discount
Step Two - Delegate Tasks For Volunteers
To throw an easy and stress-free block party, you'll probably need a team of at least six volunteers. More helpers can always be put to use, but you'll definitely need people to:
- apply for the permit (if need-be), promote the party to people living on the block, and take sign-ups (2 people)
- organize the potluck, and manage the food table and the keg the day of the party (at least 2 people)
- post "No Parking" signs the day before, and set up and clean up the day of (at least 2 people)
If you're already know some of your neighbors, start by asking them if they're willing to help. If you don't know any of your neighbors, try posting signs on the street posts at the ends of your block. If you still come up short, you may have to go door-to-door.
Step Three - Create Save The Dates
There are a ton of ways to promote your block party, but here's a simple and direct approach: Tape Save-the-Dates to everyone's front door on your block. You'll want something colorful and that stick out. However, you'll want to be sure to include the date of the party, as well as contact information for the people you designated to take sign-ups. If you're doing a potluck style party you'll want to mention that, too. Creating the Save-the-Date may also be a good attempt to find last-minute volunteers who can help with the party. You'll be happy to have a few extra pairs of hands during the day. One more tip: on the Save-the-Date, give people a deadline for signing up. Deadlines motivate people who might otherwise wait until the last minute to join the party, and you want to have a relatively solid count before the big day.
Step Four - Organize The Pot-Luck
When people call to sign up for the block party, ask them what they'd like to bring to the potluck. Be sure to also then ask them to commit to bringing that specific dish. If they say they don't know what to bring, or if you find that everyone is trying to bring chips and salsa, start making suggestions. In the end, your suggestions will only make the block party more delicious and nutritious for everyone involved, and provide a little more variety to the day. If people seem truly afraid of the stove, put them on soft drink and ice duty.
During the actual day of the party, be sure to warn everyone about parking and driving during the event, as well as provide trash-bins for food and other goods that need to be disposed.
At the end, just have fun with it and enjoy the day! Share with us if you would consider having a block party by following us on Instagram @itouchwearables and Facebook @itouchwearables and by dropping a comment and like. Check out new blog posts published daily!