Adapted from“Neighborhood Block Party Kit” distributed by the Cityof Edmonton CommunityServices Dept.
AN EASYTO ORGANIZE
NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARTY GUIDE
A neighborhood block party is the opportunity for neighbors toget together, meet each other, have fun, and maybe work together on a common activity.
10REASONS TOHAVE ABLOCK PARTY
•Tohave fun–no excuses or reasons areneededto celebrate.
•Toprovidean opportunity to know your neighbors and where they live.
•Toincrease that sense of belongingto a community.
•Tolearn a little about each other and knowwho might need a littleextrahelp from time to time.
•Tomeet neighbors onyour block that might be able to help you with a gardening problem, or lend you that needed ingredient for your recipe.
•Toencourage neighbors tolook after theneighborhood.
•Tohelp withsafety/crime prevention by knowingwholiveswhereandwho does not.
•Toincrease security by knowingeachother’s schedules.
•Todevelopan opportunity to meet some ofthe old time neighborsand learn about your communityhistory.
PLANNING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCKPARTY
Things to consider whenorganizing your event.
•Theidea ofaneighborhoodblock party is tobringneighborstogether.It’s agoodidea to
find 1or 2neighbors to help you with the event.
•Onecantakethe “LoneRanger”approach,andit canbe agreat event. However,it may
makeit more difficult tofind someone else toorganize it nextyear.
•The first step is tocreatean Organizing Committee. It is important to include everyone in the decisions about theevent.
•Ifthis isthefirst time you maywant tosend outa flyer toexplain what a Block Partyis, encourage attendance, perhaps share some of the benefits,get opinionson how to handle the food, and possible dates and times to have the event.
•Enlist as many neighborsas you canto help out.Someone can typethe flyer; someone elsecan collect them. You may want toask some kids todrop the flyers in the mailboxes.
Which typeof block party will work best in your neighborhood?Try not to go overboard, it
canmake peoplefeel the event istoomuchwork…Keepit Simple!
Barbecues - organizers purchase all that is needed and neighborsprovide the money;- everyone brings his or her own meat.
Picnics --everyone brings their ownmeal;
Pot luck - everyone brings one dish;
Catered --everyone shares the costand the food ispurchased.
•Start off with a smallerevent ratherthan a large one. It can always grow, but itis hard to shrink it.
•Inselecting who toinvite, use natural neighborhood boundaries where possible (i.e. end of the block).If you are planning a street or cul-de-sac party,you need toinvite everyone from that area.
•Decideearlyand makeitclear in your flyer if thiswill be a block partyrestricted to those on the street/block or whether people can invitefriends/relatives (if yes how many).
A neighbor’s backyard
Common room ina condo unit
** Becausetheselocationsareon public lands, an application or permit may be required. Safety needs tobe an important factor inplanning!
•Ifyou wantto close down a street or re-directtraffic, theCity of Los Angelesrequires that an application be filled out. This application is available at bsspermits.lacity.org. At the site click on Special Events, then click on Apply for a New Permit, then click Select Event Type, and then follow the process. If you need further information about street closures you may call the City of LA Bureau Street Services at (213) 847-6000 during business hours (7:00a.m - 3:30p.m).
A permit for a street closure is $312.00. Your first response to this fee might be that it is too expensive, but if each home contributes to the purchase of the permit it doesn’t seem that overwhelming. Don’tletobstaclesstandin yourway…Itis worthit!
Be creative, a block party does not have to be in the public street. It can be in a neighbor’s backyard, in neighbors’ front yards, apartment patio, or a common room ina condo unit.
•Remember that at the endof the function,publicsites needto be cleaned and left in good condition.
•For a first time block party, distribute the first flyerrequesting feedback4to 5weeks beforethe event.
•Adjustments may needto be made if a neighbor already has an event of their own planned.
•Once the Committee has looked at all the suggestions,thefinal flyer with date, time and what tobring shouldgo out 3weeks before the event.
•Mid-Maytoend the ofAugust isa good time.
•A weekend dateor holiday is often the best times for the event.
•Have an alternate rainout day planned, just incase.
•Keep in mind wholives in the neighborhood when setting the hours for the party.
•Ifyoung children or seniors are living near the party areaplan tofinish by 9:00pm.
Itis important tokeep neighbors informed. Here are some ideas:
•Flyers can be used with a request todropback their suggestions for theevent in your mailbox.
•Information can be gathered from your neighbors by goingdoor-to-door. This addsa personaltouch and people often offer to help.
•A casual approach can be used toinform neighborsas you see them outworking in their yards.
•Neighbors canbe calledonthe phone.(Ifyoudon’tknowyourneighbors, areverse
directory telephone book can be used. Theyareavailable at libraries.)
•Makean extra effort toget yournew neighbors out to theevent.
•Toreach neighborsin Townhouses, apartments and condos, it is bestto approach the manager. Theywill letyou knowhow toget in touch with the residents.
•Take every opportunityto talk it up in the neighborhood asoften as possible prior to the event.
•Makedecisionsabout the set up.
•Act as a greeterat theevent.
•Introducenew neighbors and help them make connections.
•Makesure the clean upis done. (You maywishto inspireclean up by rewarding the children with a prize.)
•Set up a sign-in bookfor recordsfor the next year, and it can help develop a contact list for the neighborhood.
•Nametags can be a great help.
•Decide whatyou want neighbors to writeon their name tags(e.g.-first and last names, house numbers).
•Line up tablesfor the food and havea few garbagecansavailable.
•Decide whetheryou will coordinate or everyonewill bring their own tables andchairs
plates, cutlery and cups, beverages. If using barbecues, whowill bring them?
•Instituteabathroompolicy“everyonetousehis or herown”,sothathomesecurityis
•Decide ifpets areallowed.
•Beready to overseethe clean up afterthe event.
What should wedoduring the event?
•Visit and eat. Over the centuries, food hasalways had a very social component in societies.
•Games for kids (some organized, some theycanplan themselves).
•Take time tointroduceoneanotherandpointtoone’s house.This canbe donein agame
•Encourage the talent inyour neighborhood to come forward such as musicians, magicians.
OTHERWAYS TO GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS
Christmas gift exchange
Garden tour party
When in doubt, ask your neighbors for ideas.
•Neighbors should observe securityprecautions by keepingback doors locked and equipment in sight.
•Remember when setting up tables and chairs that emergencyvehicles mayneed access.
•You maywish topost signs the daybefore the event to remindeveryone to remove cars for events involving street closure.
•For more specific information visit neighborhoodinitiative.org.