Throw a Block Party? Who, Me?
Yes, you! You can do it! Invite your friends, invite neighbors you haven’t met yet and make new friends. And… the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association will pay you* to host your party. This year, after COVID disrupted our plans for the big “Neighborhood Night Out” party, we are sponsoring individual outdoor parties throughout the Southern Gables neighborhood.
* How much is the stipend for hosting? $100.
So… host a party with your neighbors? You bet you can. It’s easy and fun. Potluck, outside in your driveway, yard, or cul-de-sac. August 20 is the planned date but vary if you must. You set up and provide the basics. It’s all about strengthening community spirit, for mutual benefit.
- Consider that with our curving streets going every which way, short ones and long ones, the word “block” doesn’t always work. Think in terms of an “area” centered on your home and as many as 50 homes. You can include parallel and adjacent streets. Just tell us what streets you will cover and we’ll check for overlaps with other hosts.
- If you give out 40 to 50 invitations, on average about 10 to 15 families will come. If you know your nearest neighbors well enough to have an idea of which ones will come, count them in as a baseline and then figure about 25% of the people you don’t know will come.
- Make flyers as invitations and deliver them, in person, door to door. (Sample available here.) If you have email contact with some of your neighbors, send invitations out that way in addition to delivering them.
- It’s probably best not to require RSVP’s. Let people feel free to just show up. With that in mind, you don’t have to get people to sign up or bring certain dishes. Just invite them to “bring something to share.”
- Decide what you will provide, such as soft drinks, hot dogs or hamburgers, paper goods. If you have a barbecue grill that can be used, that’s good too. In your invitations you will let people know what will be provided; that they can bring side dishes, snacks, or desserts; whether you want them to bring lawn chairs.
- Get some near neighbors to team up with you, for door-knocking, helping to promote, setting up tables, cleanup afterwards. Have nametag blanks and markers available. Think ahead of what you’ll do if someone wants to use the restroom.
Before the party
- As soon as you can, sign up! Let us know how many homes you will invite, and which ones they are. Contact SGNA.Lakewood@gmail.com. We will keep a record so that if someone plans to overlap your invitation area, we can help you work it out.
- July 30 (Three weeks before the party) Design and print invitations. (You can download a sample here, or make your own however you like.) Be sure your email address is on the invitation for neighbors to respond if they want to, or ask questions. Print the number of flyers you plan to give out.
- August 6 (Two weeks before) Take the invitations with you and give them by hand to neighbors.
- Whenever you can, try and get the neighbor’s email address to better facilitate your communications.
- If no one answers the door, leave the invitation on the door. Fasten to the handle with a rubber band or stick it inside the edge. DO NOT leave anything in a mailbox and DO NOT knock or leave anything if there is a “No soliciting” sign.
- August 13 (a week before) If you need to borrow tables or maybe a few chairs from a near neighbor, or a portable grill, ice chest or whatever else, arrange that.
- A few days before. Buy the items you plan to provide.
Day of the party: August 20. Set up and enjoy your own party. Meet new neighbors.
After the party. Notify us at email@example.com how many families you invited and how many people showed up. We will write you a check for $100. If you like to write and have some stories to tell, or some photos to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include them in an article on the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association website.