Summer is here and it’s time… to dance in the streets! Our toes have been tapping to the beat of this legendary summer jam, first performed by Martha and the Vandellas, for nearly 50 years. This summer, however, it’s going to feel better than ever when we gather to eat, dance, and celebrate — so we’re bringing back the block party. Read on for some pro tips for throwing the best street fair your neighborhood has ever seen.
A chance for people to meet
Planning a neighborhood party can be a bigger task than you think, so you should seek help right away. So delegating responsibility will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders she relax and have as much fun as everyone else. Otherwise, you might get so stressed out that you’re leading the whole thing that when the event actually starts, you’ll be too broken to celebrate.
Deciding on a date (and a rainy date) is also a priority. Weekend days rank high in good old summer, so let people know as soon as possible. (Sending a “Save the Date” and filling out the deets later is fine.) Invitations can be issued online through Evite or Nextdoor, but you should also print hard copies to drop in neighbors’ mailboxes and post on the phone rods.
Make it street legal
Next, a trip (or a phone call) to City Hall. It’s likely that your block party will need a permit, but that’s not a high hurdle. Not only are permits often free or cheap, they generally come with some really handy perks, like sawhorses or other barricades to block the road; “No Parking” signs to keep residents’ cars from getting stuck in the party grounds; and garbage and recycling bins.
Some communities even send you extra kid-friendly fun in the form of free bouncy castles or even a visit from a ladder truck, courtesy of the local fire department.
Establish some ground rules
We get it. Rules are the last thing parties want to hear. But they’re necessary to ensure everyone stays safe and having fun, an essential outcome if you want to make your block blowout an annual event. Then consider and create policies related to:
- Guests. Are only residents allowed or will you welcome everyone? Or somewhere in between?
- Respect the neighbors who don’t want to participate.
- Property that is off-limits (e.g. lawns, driveways and porches).
- sanitary facilities. Is everyone going back to their own homes or are some people making their powder rooms available for public use? (Pro tip: rent portable units instead.)
- Alcohol, drug use, cigarette smoking, or any behavior inappropriate for a family-friendly event.
- pets. It would be difficult to call a block party a no-pets-allowed event, but you can request that people keep dogs on a leash or nearby. Remind everyone to ask before approaching or touching others’ pets. There will inevitably be a lot of excitement and sensory stimulation that could prove overwhelming for even a normally well-behaved dog.
- close of business. Unfortunately, all parties must come to an end. Especially when there are many small children in the neighborhood, an early end time is probably best.
- Anything that violates local ordinances (alcohol consumption, curfew/quiet time, noise restrictions).
Set up logins
Use an online registration form service early on to obtain all the necessary information from your guests, e.g. B. the name and address of each family, the number of family members who will be attending, the ages of their children and their contact information.
The easiest (and least expensive) way to handle refreshments and entertainment is to have all guests lend a hand. Have a sign-up spot for potluck items roughly divided into categories: appetizers, snacks, salads, proteins or entrees, and desserts. Don’t forget the practical items: napkins, plates, cups, cutlery, condiments, garbage bags, disposable tablecloths, ice and antibacterial wipes. Check the week of the party to make sure everything is covered, and if not, call these articles.
Also, make a request for people who can provide tables and chairs, pop-up canopy tents, a sound system, food and beverage coolers, and charcoal or gas grills (if allowed; check when applying for your permit).
music sweet music
Get the party started with some classic, crowd-pleasing tunes – you know, the ones that get a mad rush onto the dance floor. Make it a mix of Motown anthems (honoring Marvin and Martha), old rock ‘n’ roll, current club hits, sing-along favorites and chart-topping hits from every era.
Add lots of children’s music that will also appeal to adults: They Might Be Giants, Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its, Dan Zanes, Recess Monkey, Laurie Berkner and Trout Fishing in America. And remember the banging dance numbers that will get young and old alike going: Gangnam Style, Chicken Dance, YMCA, Macarena, Electric Slide and U Can’t Touch This.
To tweak that street party sound, create a Spotify playlist ahead of time — or enlist the services of a teen or young adult ready to DJ for a day. You can take requests or customize the tunes to suit the mood of the party.
This is entertainment!
Many people will likely be content to eat, drink, and dance, but others may want a different distraction — and even the most dedicated dancers will benefit from a breather from time to time. Some suggestions for additional ways to entertain party-goers include:
- outdoor games Think Bocce, Badminton, Ladderball, Cornhole or Kan Jam
- outdoor toys What would a block party be without sidewalk chalk, water jets, water balloons, skipping ropes and a selection of bubble wands?
- Set up a side table with quieter activities like crafts or board games as a relaxing haven for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle. Find all kinds of craft kits at a major craft store for kids to make beaded friendship bracelets, batches of slime, fairy doors, or painted rocks.
- Check out a few weeks in advance what talents the neighborhood teenagers have – juggling, magic tricks, devil sticks, hoops. They will enjoy showing off their skills and/or teaching younger children. Artistic tweens or teens can lend a hand with face painting or henna tattoos.
- Want to make sure your shindig is extra special? Enjoy top-notch options like a karaoke machine, dunk tank, carnival games, photo booth, or visit from the ice cream truck.
- Holding a 50:50 raffle can help offset the cost of the block party. Or try raising funds from nearby businesses to auction or raffle. The funds could go to a local charity or next year’s festival fundraiser.
Clean up after the festivities is head-to-head with “rules” the most tedious part of the block party, but both are absolutely necessary. To make the aftermath easier to manage, put out plenty of clearly marked trash cans and recycling bins. Have volunteers do a few passes during the party to clean up big messes. Remind families to take their potluck slow cookers and platters, lawn games and any other supplies with them when they head out – but also select a household to act as a lost property office, just in case.