Looking for a great way to build a better sense of community in your neighborhood? A block party is a perfect way to help neighbors connect & get to know each other! And with several weekends of summer left, it’s not too late to stir something up in your neighborhood.
The San Elijo Hills Community Association recently shared some great tips with residents about how to throw a block party. (See below for an adapted list).
Step 1. Have a Planning Party. Invite a few neighbors over to plan the party. Think of the planning process itself as an opportunity to have fun and make some lasting friendships. Try to involve neighbors you don’t know well who may know other neighbors you don’t know well. Don’t stress over planning the perfect party, sometimes the most casual events are the most fun.
Step 2. Choose a Location. You may be able to close off the street in front of your block if you want to hold activities right in the street. If you want to close a street, you will need to get a Neighborhood Block Party Permit from the City of San Marcos. (Note: A block party application processing fee of $50 will be charged in 2011 and payment is required prior to application approval, see attached city application). If you want to hold the party in yards and don’t want to close a street, the City doesn’t require permits. Despite these requirements, closing the street does have the advantage of making your party feel like a true block party rather than a private event.
Step 3. Choose a Date. Try to pick a date 4-6 weeks in advance to allow plenty of time for planning, notifying neighbors and obtaining a Block Party Permit if needed. (But, don’t be afraid to pull together something at the last minute – some of the best parties happen spontaneously!)
Step 4. Decide on Food. A party isn’t a party without food. You can do potluck style and have everyone bring something to share or you can order food and have everyone contribute toward the event. Do whatever will get the best participation. Every neighborhood is different.
Step 5. Decide on Activities. To spice up your party, you may want to include some games and activities. Some block parties come at the end of a block cleanup, a block garage sale, or a day of tree-planting; others have a theme such as Fourth of July or celebrating some real (or made up) neighborhood anniversary.
Step 6. Deliver Invitations. Deliver invitations at least a month before the party to allow people to plan and as a courtesy to neighbors with special needs (e.g. daytime sleepers, expecting deliveries) who may need to communicate with you. Invitations are most effective if they are personally delivered. You may want to put reminders under people’s doormats about a week before the party.
Step 7. Observe Neighborhood Courtesies. Remember to make your block party a positive experience for all of your neighbors, even if they choose not to attend. Make it easy for neighbors to get out of their driveways and through the street. Be respectful and keep noise levels low.
Step 8. Have Fun!
Want more ideas?