Top 10 reasons to plan a block party
- Have fun! You don't need a special reason to celebrate.
- Create an opportunity to get to know your neighbours.
- Establish new friendships.
- Increase the sense of belonging in your community.
- Share resources or interests. Think carpools, babysitters, gardening or book clubs.
- Build pride in your neighbourhood which encourages everyone to take care of it.
- Promote a safe and caring neighbourhood where everyone looks out for each other.
- Ensure you are there for each other in case of emergency.
- Learn who might need a little extra help from time to time.
- Meet some of the long-standing neighbours who can share some of the history of the place.
Planning your neighbourhood Block Party
- The idea of a neighbourhood Block Party is to bring neighbours together, so the first step is to talk to your neighbours.
- Consider creating a flyer to explain what you want to do, find out if neighbours are interested and suggest possible dates.
- Enlist as many neighbours as you can to help out. Allowing people to play a role gets them involved and excited about the event.
Choosing your style
Will you host a barbecue, potluck or picnic?
- For a barbecue, the organizers usually purchase supplies and neighbours share the cost and bring their own food for the grill.
- Potlucks provide a great variety with everyone bringing one dish to share.
- Picnics are usually a 'bring your own thing' affair.
Your invitation list
- Start off with a smaller event rather than a large one - it can always grow in future years, it's harder to shrink it.
- Use natural neighbourhood boundaries where possible, and be inclusive within that area.
The perfect location
Use a common public space rather than private yards if possible. This will promote shared responsibility for the event. Ideas for locations include:
- public park or roadway
- common room in a condo unit
- identify a covered space or garage in case of rain
Using public locations in Colwood
If you and your neighbours have decided to use a public park or roadway for your Block Party, you will need to:
- fill out a City of Colwood Special Event Application
- arrange to have the City provide street barricades, traffic cones, signage
Go for a green event
Encourage everyone to help make your block party a green event:
- Try to minimize waste when buying products
- Provide recycling and composting bins
- Choose locally grown foods and services
- Encourage people to arrive on foot or by bicycle rather than by car
The role of the organizers
- Make decisions about setting up the event
- Complete the City of Colwood special event application
- Act as the greeter at the event
- Introduce people and help them make connections
- Make sure cleanup is done after the event. Encourage kids to help by offering prizes.
- Be mindful of the municipal City of Colwood Noise Bylaw.
- Open fires are not permitted.
- Consider safety when setting up tables and chairs, on the outside chance that emergency vehicles should need to access your street for any reason.
- You may wish to post signs the day before the event to remind people to remove cars for the street closure.
What to do at the event
- Visit and enjoy sharing a meal together.
- Listen to some good music. Maybe you even have some talent to share in your neighbourhood.
- Consider a few games and activities for kids and all ages.
- Use this handy Ice Breaker Activity Sheet to encourage conversation and connections.