Whether it’s a couple of families coming together hosting a party or if it’s truly your whole block, there are some essentials that you’ll need to get a block party off the ground.
If you’re looking for a full-scale affair, a permit is likely the most important thing you’ll need. The permit you’ll need will depend on which city you live in, where the party will be hosted, and how many people plan to attend your party. Plan ahead, because in some cities you may need to apply for a permit weeks (or even months) in advance. Check with your local Government to see if this is something you’ll need to plan for. In the fairly rare cases where you’ll have to pay for a permit, it will typically cost no more than $30.
Again, depending on your municipality, where you’ll host the party, and how many people attend, you may need to pay your local sanitation department to dispose of the trash your party will inevitably create. For larger gatherings, getting a dumpster specifically for your block is a wise move, and costs around $240. If you have to pay for special event service from the sanitation department in large cities, it should cost around $60.
Food and drinks
You would think that feeding everyone would be by far the most expensive part of the block party, but with careful planning you can keep your costs low. The key will be what will end up being the most important thing in hosting a successful block party: commitment from the neighborhood. If you can get your neighbors onboard with your party, you can have a potluck, asking everyone to cook food and BYOB.
If you can talk to your neighbors and get them to buy in to the idea and bring their own food, you can avoid essentially catering for your entire neighborhood, which is something you definitely want to avoid. Block parties are supposed to be a community event, so if you can get people involved, it’ll make everything easier and more enjoyable.
Tables for potluck
If you can get everyone to bring their own food, you’ll need a place to put it. You can rent ten tables at party stores for around $100; scale up or down, depending on the size of your event. For larger parties you may want to get more tables and make sure to plan ahead. Call around and find a place to rent tables from at least a month ahead of time, and see if you need to make a reservation.
You don’t want to do all this work for a party, only to have no one come! Start spreading the word with simple word-of-mouth, talking to all your neighbors and seeing if this is something that they want to help organize. For larger, neighborhood-wide parties, you’ll also want to print off posters to put up, and maybe even invites to send to people.
If you have an eye for design, design your own poster. If not, a local designer can likely put something eye-catching together on the cheap. Remember, if word-of-mouth and posters were good enough for Woodstock, it’ll be good enough for your block party (hopefully fewer people come, though).
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