Rolling the Dice and Clinking the Ice

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Neighborhood Block Party

A few of us in my neighborhood have been saying for years now that we wanted to get everyone together for a block party, but life keeps us busy so the idea always fell by the wayside. Well, this summer we decided to go for it so I called our police department and put in a request to close our street! Considering we get a lot of cut-through traffic the road closing really was a must... so glad my neighbor suggested the idea. There wasn't a cost involved in obtaining the permit either which was nice. Anyway, the process takes about 30 days to complete, so it only made sense to get that going first. After that was set into motion, I sent out an evite to all those I had addresses for and asked them to forward it on to others. This was to be an open invitation to all our neighbors, the more the merrier!
I then created a flyer to go in the mailboxes of all those who live on the stretch of our street which would be closed. I didn't have email addresses for everyone so I figured this would be the best way to ensure they received the invite as well as had the heads up about the road closing. We then rented a bounce house for the kids and even a snow cone machine which offered 3 different flavors for their icy treats. As for food and beverages, the evite requested that everyone bring a dish to share. Someone offered to smoke a Boston butt and another neighbor offered to pick up a few kegs. Everything was falling into place perfectly. We even had a neighbor who works with a park and rec organization loan us some construction barrels to block each end of our street. These were greatly appreciated considering the police department doesn't loan their cones or barrels out for this sort of thing.

When I say all the planning came together just right I'm not exaggerating, I remember thinking, 'man, this is almost too easy.' Then a few days before our event I heard we were to get some rain. At first I didn't think too much of it, thought maybe there would be a sprinkle or two but nothing that would threaten our fun. Plus, weather men get it wrong all the time. Well, as the days passed the weather outlook started to look even worse. There was a tropical depression brewing in the Gulf and the aftermath of that storm was expected to blow through Atlanta on the day of our party. They were calling for 100% chance of precipitation! And this time they got it right, the morning of our block party I woke up to rain. My heart sunk. A few of us jumped on a conference call to discuss what to do... should we cancel or push forward?? We couldn't get our money back on the bounce house or snow cone machine so we decided to take our chances, so long as we weren't at risk of electrocution by lightening then we would try our luck!

I'm so glad we did too because for two, full, glorious hours we had a very dry party. The sky was gray but we were not wet. Kids were eating snow cones, dancing to music, jumping in the bounce house, playing bean bag toss... and neighbors were getting to know one another. It was perfect! I would say a little over 40 people actually came, we were expecting around 60 but I suspect the weather kept the other 20 or so at home. Still, I was really pleased with our turn out and met some really great people that afternoon!

As a weather precaution, we set up some tailgating tents near a neighbor's garage so people would have some shelter in case the heavens opened up which was a good move because eventually we were all scrambling for a dry space. In a weird way I found it fun being squished in with my neighbors while we waited for the rain to let up. I thought it brought us all even closer together. And the kids loved it, they were running around, jumping in puddles, having a great time! Actually brought back childhood memories of my own watching them splash about the place.

All in all it was a great party, very well may be the highlight of my summer, and I'm so glad we did not let a little rain stop us! I met so many wonderful families throughout the day and I feel even more connected to my community than I did before the party. I think every neighborhood should organize something similar, it's such a great way to get to know those who live closest to you. I didn't get a lot of pictures, honestly I was having too much fun to find time to fool with my camera, but I did manage to get one of the bounce house that I thought I might share. :)

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and I hope this will inspire you to evenutally organize your own block party! I wish we would have planned ours sooner!


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