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Hosting a successful block party event is possible when you pre-plan the festivities.

The idea of a neighbourhood block party is to bring neighbours together. It's a good idea to find 1 or 2 neighbours to help you with the event. The first step is to create an organizing committee. It is important to include everyone in the decisions about the event.

Getting Started

If this is the first block party in your neighbourhood, you may want to send out a flyer to explain what a block party is, encourage attendance, recruit volunteers, and find out possible dates and times for the event.

  • For a first time block party, distribute the first flyer requesting feedback 4 to 5 weeks before the event.
  • Once the committee has looked at all the suggestions, the final flyer with date, time and what to bring should go out 3 weeks before the event.
  • Mid-May to the end of August is a good time.
  • A weekend or holiday is often the best time for the event.
  • Have an alternate rainout day planned, just in case.
  • Keep in mind who lives in the neighbourhood when setting the hours for the party. If young children or seniors are living near the party area, plan to finish by 9pm.

Types of Block Parties

  • Barbecue - Organizers purchase all that is needed and neighbours provide the money. Everyone brings his or her own meat or veggie burgers/hot dogs
  • Picnics - Everyone brings their own meals
  • Pot luck - Everyone brings 1 dish to share
  • Catered - Everyone shares the cost and the food is provided by a catering company

Permit Application

You must have a permit if your block party is held in a public space. 

 

Pre-Planning

Determine the Size of Your Event
  • Start off with a smaller event rather than a large one. You can always expand it if you have more resources than expected.
  • In selecting who to invite, use natural neighbourhood boundaries where possible (for example, end of the block). If you are planning a street or cul-de-sac party, you need to invite everyone from that area.
  • Decide early and make it clear in your flyer if this will be a block party restricted to those on the street/block or whether people can invite friends/relatives (if yes, how many).
Choose the Location

A permit from the City of Edmonton is required if the block party is held in the following locations:

  • Local Alley
  • Residential Street
  • Park

A permit is not required if the block party is held in the following locations:

  • Neighbour’s backyard
  • House
  • Garage (in the event of rain)

It is recommended to use a public space, if possible. This will increase the likelihood of shared responsibility for the event.

Get the Word Out

It is important to keep neighbours informed. Here are some ideas:

  • Flyers can be used with a request to drop back their suggestions for the event in your mailbox.
  • Information can be gathered from your neighbours by going door-to-door. This adds a personal touch and people often offer to help.
  • A casual approach can be used to inform neighbours as you see them out in their yards.
  • Neighbours can be called by phone.
  • To reach neighbours in townhouses, apartments and condos, it is best to approach the manager. They will let you know how to get in touch with residents.
  • Take every opportunity to talk it up in the neighbourhood as often as possible prior to the event.

Hosting the Block Party

Set Up
  • Have a sign-in book. It can become a contact list for the neighbourhood.
  • Provide nametags.
  • Get tables for the food and have garbage cans available.
  • Decide whether you will coordinate or if everyone will bring their own tables, chairs, plates, cutlery, cups, beverages. If using barbecues, who will bring them?
  • Institute a policy that everyone is to use their own bathrooms so that home security is maintained.
  • Decide if pets are allowed.
  • Be ready to oversee clean up after the event.
  • You may wish to do an evaluation at the end of the event to collect any new ideas for next time.

Role of the Organizers

  • Make decisions about the set up.
  • Act as greeters at the event.
  • Introduce new neighbours and help them make connections.
  • Make sure the area is cleaned up following the party.
Activities During the Event
  • Visit and eat
  • Games (some organized, some that kids can plan themselves)
  • Introduce people and find out where they live
  • Encourage people to share their talents (musicians, magicians)
Reminders
  • Keep back doors locked and equipment in sight
  • Loud music is prohibited
  • Remember when setting up tables and chairs that emergency vehicles may need access
  • Post signs the day before the event to remind everyone to remove cars for the street closure

Special Event Planning Resources

For More Information

311 Contact Centre

Online Contact 311 Online
Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Email 311@edmonton.ca

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