Block parties are a time honored tradition, bringing together the local community for a day of fun. Their size, however, makes them complicated affairs. They aren’t things you can simply throw together for the weekend. It’s something that takes weeks of planning.
Get the Necessary Permits
Make sure you find out if your event needs a permit. Every locale has different laws. Often, block party planners can get barricades for either end of the street, cutting it off from traffic, but they need to fill out the appropriate paperwork well ahead of time. Even without the barriers, a permit may be required.
There may be other legal requirements as well. Grills may have to be kept on private property, for example, not rolled out into the street. Every city as noise ordinances, particularly after a certain time of night. Not educating yourself about these laws can lead to a fine or even a dispersal of your party.
Tell Your Neighbors
A block party is a local social event. It’s not a private party. You need to invite everyone, even that neighbor you don’t like. They certainly aren’t required to attend, but you have to extend the offer. If nothing else, your neighbors need to know when they can and can’t get into their driveways.
Plan the Food
Block parties are big affairs. You probably don’t want to be stocking the whole thing yourself. Some ways of sharing the costs include:
- Having people supply their own drinks
- Asking for people to bring side dishes
- Asking for donations to cover the cost of grilling meat and other foods you may be providing
Reconsider the Keg
The beer keg is a common part of block parties. After all, it’s an economical way to supply a large quantity of alcohol, and you don’t even have to fit it in your fridge.
The problem with them is access. You don’t really want someone checking IDs at the keg, but if teenagers start drinking from it, you can be held responsible. Better everyone bring their own beer, and each person can be in control of who can access it.
Have a Cleanup Plan
Even the neatest of neighbors are going to leave a mess: napkins, paper cups, soda cans, beer bottles and so on. Have people assigned ahead of time to help you clean up after the party, and don’t leave that chore to the very end. Periodically sweep discarded items into trash bags so you aren’t having to attack everything at once when you’re exhausted.
Also, put out recycle and trash bins during the event so others can help in disposing of their garbage. Most people want to be responsible about trash, but if receptacles aren’t obvious, people may start stashing their stuff in any number of places.
Block parties are big deals to throw, but they’re a great way of bringing a community together. Let that community help you stock and organize it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself unable to enjoy a single moment. And keep yourself on the right side of the law. Most cities have no objections to block parties, just so long as they conform to local ordinances. With some planning and cooperation, your block party can be the highlight of the summer.