Block Parties are great to link neighborhood families together. The pressures of work, commuting and supporting a family often make people merely adjacent, but not neighbors or friends. A Block Party is a great way to link neighbors together in a self-supporting community. The key is organization, and developing a wide range of activities that are fun for children and adults.
First, set up a committee and get all the families involved in the planning. Check with your local authorities if permits are required to block of a street. Permits are usually low cost, but plan in advance. If your neighborhood is close to a park or school you may get permission to hold the event there, or just use the neighbor’s lawns, garages and driveways for the event. Have a backup date or an alternate location in case of rain or scheduling conflicts
Organizing the event is a challenge: meet often and brainstorm! Make a list of duties and requirements. Form a picture of your neighborhood: the number of children, adults and seniors and then plan activities accordingly. Don’t forget security!
Will you hire a band, or is there one in your neighborhood that can supply music? What about food, activities? Recruit volunteers to provide food or to chip in for catering. Get commitments for tables, chairs, grills, ice chests, etc.
Plan and organize games and events: have a bike parade or skateboard demonstration. Have Ping pong contests, and chess/checkers for adults and seniors, face painting, and/or press-on tattoos for the kids. Make it an “Open House” event: where you can “tour” your neighbor’s home and they can visit yours.
It’s a lot of work, but organizing the event builds a sense of community just as much as the event itself.