by Becky Dumais
In this day and age of wired up relationships, computer connections and online networking, it seems like we’ve almost forgotten the fine art of face-to-face socializing. Our days have become so entrenched with “special projects" at the office that we’ve neglected to take the time to hang out, relax and be ourselves. Growing up, most of us knew the neighbours; but how many of us can say that now?
Think about the place where you grew up: those long-lasting friendships that carried you through public school, high school and beyond. What’s the status of your current ‘hood? Do you have a standing tee-off time for your Saturday foursome? Do you collect each other’s mail or feed the cat when someone’s away? Sounds downright cozy. Not you? Maybe you scurry inside when the next-door neighbour opens his front door. Either way, it sounds like it’s time to hang with the neighbourhood and make friends with people whose tools you can borrow, because they’re likely better than your own.
The block party, or neighbourhood bash, can be as impromptu or organized as you want. Some of the best times can be had when you call over the fence – or follow the smell of those incredible barbecuing ribs, with a couple of cold ones in hand.
STEPS TO THROWING YOUR STREET PARTY
A proper block party takes about three months to plan. First, pick a date and location. Take a quick poll of some neighbours (especially any friends) and see what works for them – that way you’ll at least know they’ll be coming. Then rope them into being on the planning committee. Just make sure it’s not on a long weekend.
Choose a location that will accommodate a large number of people, chairs, grills, coolers, tables, etc. Make sure the location is accessible to all invitees, and don’t block off driveways or traffic on through streets. If you plan on putting up any barricades, you might need a permit from the city.
Expenses can be low if everyone brings their own supplies, chairs, games and food. Hiring caterers, musicians, table/chair rentals means adding on a cost-per-family fee, which should be indicated on the invitation. If each family has to bring $20 (or whatever covers the cost of supplies) collect it in person at the same time you confirm attendance.