We attended our first neighborhood block party not long ago. In all my years of living in the US, in various neighborhoods on both the east and west coasts, I’d never attended a block party such as this one. Our former street has an annual pizza dinner get-together every Halloween before trick-or-treating, but this block party was a much bigger event for a whole neighborhood.
When we first saw the signs posted around the neighborhood, we marked our calendars. We’d heard from friends, who have a block party every year, how fun they are so we were curious to see for ourselves. The fact that it was just at the end of our street was certainly enticing, too. Then the day before the event we received a flyer on our door letting us know that a local real estate firm was sponsoring an In-N-Out Burger truck at the event, and that’s what sealed the deal. We were going to check it out. Worst case scenario, we would just eat a burger and head back home.
The In-N-Out truck was extremely popular. As we arrived, we ran into Kristian, our realtor and one of the agents from the firm that sponsored the truck. He urged us to get in line sooner rather than later because, based on past experience, the line would get long fast. The kids quickly gave me their orders and scampered off to jump in one of the bouncies until the burgers were ready.
There were lots of activities to keep the kids busy. Besides two bounce houses, there was a climbing wall and an arts and crafts station where kids could decorate pumpkins and bags (all sponsored by various community members or businesses). There was also an ice cream cart with a toppings bar (sponsored by another realtor) which was very popular as well with both young and old. (And for those who didn’t want to eat burgers, there was a also taco truck and pizza available.)
It really was a great community event. Not only did residents mingle with their neighbors and kids play with neighborhood friends while enjoying delicious food, but booths were set up to provide pertinent and useful information to neighborhood members as well. An alarm company provided information on their services. The Department of Water and Power was handing out free energy saving light bulbs and information on conserving power and water. The local elementary school and a nearby country club were providing information on membership and activities. Our neighborhood council was sharing updates on ongoing developments such as the new light rail being built through our part of town and the beautification of a main thoroughfare. This was a part of the block party that I totally hadn’t expected, but what a great feature, especially for new members of the neighborhood.
People of all ages came walking from all directions to join the event. Even the local fire department came (with their trucks much to the delight of young children) to enjoy some burgers. My husband and I discussed how there has been nothing like this in our part of the neighborhood where we are currently rebuilding our home. We joked how if there were to be a similar type of block party there, an In-N-Out truck would have to be there, too. People are certainly drawn to that! There was never a quiet moment at that truck!
Coincidentally, a couple of days after the block party, I received an email from Kristian, our realtor friend and sponsor of the burger truck. He was suggesting a similar block party for our part of the neighborhood… Is planning one in our future, I wonder? And how would our neighbors respond?
Does your neighborhood have a block party? What do you like best about it?