For most people, Memorial Day marks the start of summer, and in many parts of the country, that means the start of Block Party season. We didn't have block parties growing up, but I now live in a community that actively encourages blocks to have two a year. The idea is that it's a great way to make friends and connections with your neighbors, which makes the community stronger and keeps it safer. We have one at the beginning of the summer, and one in the early fall.
If you're considering a summer block party, we've got some planning tips for you.
Involve as many people as possible in planning Although it may be contrary to how you normally plan parties, the whole point of a block party is that it brings the neighbors together. To get people on board with the party, you need to involve them in the planning. On my block, we tend to do this by email but I know some blocks that have "pre-block party planning parties." Make sure you involve representatives of all the kinds of families on the block (young kids, teenagers, no kids, older adults) to ensure that you have age appropriate activities for everyone.
Make a Save-the-Date Creating a save-the-date flier with a schedule of events for the day will not only get people excited about the day, but give those who haven't participated in the planning so far a chance to come in and join the fun.
Food On our block, breakfast and dinner are organized potlucks and we order pizza for lunch. We're lucky enough to also get invited to the party one block south of us, and they take up a collection and one or two families take care of preparing food for everyone for lunch and dinner. Either way works well.
Weather It can be hard enough finding one date that works for everyone on the block, let alone a back up date in case of bad weather. Consider a tent rental to protect against sun or rain.
Entertainment and Activities The best activity at a block party is hanging out and talking, but you do need a few structured activities to get people out and involved. Here are some tried and true ideas: Many local fire departments will send a truck to teach about fire safety, and the kids get to use the hose! Bouncy House Bubble Truck Carnival Games Face Painting Balloon Animals Tie Dye Booth Karaoke Water Balloons, Slip n' Slide, Sprinkler Fun Sing-a-long Campfire (with S'mores of course) If you have a lot of teenagers or older kids on your block, consider setting up a movie at dusk. All you need is a projector and a large white sheet to play the movie on. This idea doesn't work as well if you have younger kids, since it doesn't get dark enough to watch the movie until late.
So, what do you think? Are you having a Block Party this summer? Did we miss any great ideas? Let us know in the comments. Don't forget that GigMasters has all sorts of variety entertainers as well as tent rental listings.