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