How to plan the per­fect street party

Thou­sands of Ki­wis will be go­ing out of their way to get to know their neigh­bours bet­ter next month.

Matamata Chronicle - - Backyard Banter -

Neigh­bours Day Aotearoa 2016 falls on March 19 and 20 and com­mu­ni­ties all over New Zealand are plan­ning street, av­enue and cul-de-sac get­to­geth­ers.

A street party is a fun and non­threat­en­ing way to get to know your neigh­bours bet­ter.

But get­ting such a di­verse group of peo­ple to­gether in one place isn’t al­ways easy. Fear not – we’ve jot­ted down some help­ful hints on how to plan the per­fect street party. Cre­ate a com­mit­tee: It might sound a bit over the top but a plan­ning com­mit­tee will en­cour­age more peo­ple to be ex­cited about your event right from the be­gin­ning. Ex­tra col­lab­o­ra­tors also means the prob­a­bil­ity of even more cre­ative ideas. Plan well in ad­vance:

It’s hard enough or­gan­is­ing your own fam­ily let alone a whole street of party go­ers – so give your neigh­bours plenty of no­tice. Satur­days are of­ten swamped with sports events, so per­haps a Sun­day af­ter­noon pic­nic or ear­lyevening bar­be­cue is a bet­ter op­tion. Share de­tails of your event on Neigh­bourly.co.nz. Choose com­mon ground: Lo­ca­tion plays a big part when it comes to the per­fect street party. Choos­ing com­mon ground like a park, re­serve or cen­tral verge creates a non-threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­ment where ev­ery­one feels wel­come. You will have to talk to your lo­cal coun­cil about road clo­sures and pos­si­bly a few other health and safety con­sid­er­a­tions if you want to hold your party on the ac­tual street. Food, glo­ri­ous food: Par­ties are al­ways bet­ter with food. Ask neigh­bours to bring a plate to add to the ta­ble or a pic­nic to share with their fam­ily. If you’re or­gan­is­ing a pot-luck, ask around for bar­be­cues and peo­ple to man them well be­fore the big day. Don’t for­get the kids: Beat bore­dom by or­gan­is­ing games, prizes and spe­cial food for the kids. Hire a bouncy cas­tle or a clown if you have a big­ger bud­get and ask around – you never know, there just might be a suit­able en­ter­tainer liv­ing next door. Be a good host: En­cour­age your neigh­bour­hood stal­warts to ar­rive early on the day. The more well-known faces there at the be­gin­ning, the less in­tim­i­dat­ing it will be to new­com­ers. Or­gan­ise a clean-up crew: Al­ways leave your street look­ing like a party never hap­pened. Make rub­bish bags vis­i­ble dur­ing the event to clean as you go, and ask party-go­ers to help tidy up be­fore they leave. Many hands make light work, af­ter all.

All of the ef­fort is cer­tainly worth it with 90 per cent of pre­vi­ously sur­veyed Neigh­bours Day par­tic­i­pants say­ing they now know their neigh­bours bet­ter. A fur­ther 67 per cent say they also feel a lot safer in their neigh­bour­hoods as a re­sult.

More: neigh­bours­day.org.nz

A happy neigh­bour­hood could be just one street party away from be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

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