You Can Host a Block Party!
The Southern Gables Neighborhood Association will again sponsor outdoor summer parties, encouraging neighbors to get to know each other.
It should be easy and fun. Outside in your driveway, yard, or cul-de-sac. It can be a potluck, bring-a drink, host-provide-all, or any combination. You can even party in the street if you get a permit and close the street to traffic. This year our timeframe for sponsored parties is the month of July and the first week of August. It will be “first come first served” for the $100 sponsorship, up to 10.
Update, 2023: This article is about Association-sponsored block parties, $100 stipend, no paperwork. Lakewood has a new program for block party grants up to $500. You can check out that alternative at Lakewood.org/GTgrant. For our $100 offer, read on.
- Think big! With our curving streets going every which way, short ones and long ones, the word “block” doesn’t always fit. Think in terms of the area around your home, say 50 homes or even more. Just tell us what streets you will cover and we’ll check for overlaps with other hosts. A detailed map of Southern Gables is here if you need it.
- Decide where you want to have it: in a wide driveway or your front yard, or if you want to party in the street, the City of Lakewood will allow you to close your block to traffic for the party. If that’s what you want, get a Block Party permit from the City at Lakewood.org. There is a $25 application fee and a $5 permit fee. No permit is needed if you have it on your driveway or yard.
- Don’t just invite your nearest neighbors, the ones you already know. If you give out a lot of invitations, on average about 25% of the people you don’t already know will come.
- Decide what you will provide, such as hot dogs or hamburgers, paper goods, lemonade? If you have a barbecue grill or a shade canopy, great. Or get a neighbor to provide if needed. You can tell people they can bring side dishes, snacks, or desserts; whether you will provide drinks or they should bring them; tell if they should bring lawn chairs.
- You can require RSVP’s, or not. With RSVPs, you can pretend that your plans are exact. Without RSVPs, you go with an estimate and people can feel welcome on the spur of their moment.
- Make flyers as invitations and deliver them, in person, door to door. If you have email or texting contact with some of your neighbors, send invitations out that way in addition to delivering them.
- 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 [email protected]. We will keep a record so that if someone plans to overlap your invitation area, we can help you work it out.
- Design and print invitations. (You can download a sample here, or make your own however you like.) You can put your contact info on the invitation for neighbors to ask questions if they want to.
- 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 if there is a “No soliciting” sign.
- 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. Let us know if you need a 10×10 ft pop up-shade tent. A neighbor has generously offered two of these for Block Party use. Need more coolers, or maybe a grill? We may be able to help with that too.
- A few days before, buy the items you plan to provide. If $100 doesn’t cover it, hey, it’s your party and the $100 is still $100.
On the day of the party
Set up and enjoy your own party. Meet new neighbors. Take pictures!
After the party. Notify us at [email protected] 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 [email protected]com and we will include them in an article on the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association website.
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