Here's the thing about street parties: Besides being fun, they can really give your neighborhood publicity efforts a boost. They can bring bloggers, prospective home buyers, and possible investors into your community for the first time.
The advantages are getting people out of their houses and helping neighbors get to know one another. At least in prosperous societies where electricity and sophisticated transportation and utility networks allow people to isolate themselves with their immediate families, that's becoming more and more rare.
But knowing the people nearby helps build social capital, which means that your network of friends gets to know part or all of another network, and so forth.
Social capital helps the community when it needs to pull together to accomplish common goals. It facilitates spreading the word about good causes but also helps people care about people outside their immediate circle of acquaintances.
Before the form, here are a few ideas to help you get started:
1. By all means, try to convince your town or city to allow you to block off the street from traffic. Most of the compromises we've seen were quite unsuccessful and very frustrating to the motorist in the end.
2. Like all parties, the food and drink must be evident, abundant, and good. Ignore this at your peril. But for outdoor events, the aroma itself is especially important, which is why unless you have a well-established party where everyone participates, you might think of grilling meat or at least aromatic vegetables.
3. If your party is meant to build acquaintance among neighbors, perhaps to help with a neighborhood watch, you may want to be fairly strict to limit attendance to your immediate area. Other parties, of course, are huge and are aimed at neighborhood public relations, street animation, or the economic development that comes as a result of a major festival.
4. Do take care to reach out to people likely to be inconvenienced by this event, either because they will lose business due to customers being unable to reach them, or perhaps because they are nearby residents who will hear the noise and have to pick up the trash.
5. Good music makes a party, and by all means, try to make it live music if possible.
6. Prepare ahead for great social media, with a jpg file for easy Tweeting, a hashtag suggestion, and a steady stream of small bits of information.
Some of you think that street festivals are just frivolous activities. We think that giving the exceptional street party is a key to community development because it helps to build the market for housing and retail, it builds loyalty on the part of current residents, and it provides easy opportunities to reach out to new business and non-profit partners.
Below you can submit your experiences of community-building street parties, festivals, and block parties.
Tell us what made this party or festival in a street or streets great. What was distinctive? Did it build neighborliness? Or was it more about enjoying the atmosphere or getting outdoors?
Click below to see contributions from other visitors and editors to this page.
Let Them Eat Art street party Not rated yet
Let Them Eat Art, an apparently annual event in Maplewood, Missouri, an inner ring suburb of Saint Louis, is among the best street parties we've attended. …
Limestone Heritage Festival -- Bedford, Indiana Not rated yet
Every year, Bedford Indiana is host to an awesome festival called the Limestone Heritage Festival. The entire weekend is filled with events for people …
4th of July Blow Out! Not rated yet
Last summer for the weekend of fourth of July, my family and I went up to celebrate my Tiiti and my daughter's birthdays which fall a day apart. This festival …
Best Street Festival in Chicago? Definitely Wicker Park Fest. Not rated yet
Chicago, Illinois is a place known for its high winds and cold winters. When the summer comes along, everyone in the city is ready to get outside and enjoy …
Best Street Party--Seattle's Capitol Hill Not rated yet
Every year in Seattle's hip Capitol Hill area the whole city comes to celebrate the heat of summer, listen to a huge variety of music, drink far too much …
Halloween Carnival: One of the Best Street Parties Not rated yet
For the past 3 years we have done a neighborhood Halloween carnival. Games are set up with small prizes. You can sell tickets to play the games. Food and …
Block Party--Delicious Anticipation Not rated yet
When I visited friends in a suburb of Chicago, the street department came on a Saturday morning and blocked off the ends of the street. Our hostess …