We have held the Card Lane Annual Block Party for the last twenty-two years, always in September or October. Neighbors start asking each other toward the end of summer, “When are we having the block party?” Everyone really looks forward to this event!
If you’ve never planned a block party, I will tell you how we do it. Note that this is our way; other streets may do it differently and achieve equally good results.
- The date is generally agreed on by the party organizers about 4 weeks in advance.
- Saturday is always our first choice because it’s not a “school night” but Sundays work, too; however, the party breaks up a little earlier than a Saturday party.
- Think about scheduling a rain date which is an option when getting the Block Party Permit. In 22 years, we’ve only had one rained-out party. When it threatened rain last year, we decamped to porches then came back out when the rain threat had passed.
- One person obtains the Block Party Permit (detailed instructions below)
- One person makes a simple flyer (example below) and prints it.
- One person distributes the flyer to all the neighbors’ mailboxes about 3 weeks in advance. We extend the invitation beyond our street to surrounding neighbors.
- Our general party structure is:
- Put up the barricades at 3 pm (or earlier so kids can have free run of the street)
- Cocktail hour starts at 4 pm
- Dinner is served at 5:30 pm
- Attendees bring
- Potluck food and beverages to share
- Organizers supply:
- 2-3 folding tables for food and drinks, picnicware
- Tablecloths: either cloth or plastic; if latter, tape them down
- Picnicware: small and large plates, napkins, plastic utensils, cups
- Extra chairs
- Garbage cans with bags
- We request a donation to cover costs of picnicware and a cake for dessert.
- Parking: we put a reminder in the invitation to move cars off the street and some years we distribute a reminder flyer under windshields the day before.
- Organizers set up and whoever is there at the end of party helps to clean up.
We have many good cooks not to mention a professional brewer, so we always have lots of good food and East End Brewing beer for the adults and Barmy Soda Company sodas for the kids! In years gone by, we’ve had organized games for adults and kids, e.g., volleyball, bike races, even a ping pong table one year. Someone generally brings out a boom box for music. Some years, someone has brought out their firepit and we’ve roasted marshmallows.
As one of the organizers, I can say that it’s always worth the relatively small effort it takes to put it together because everyone is so appreciative of the chance to get together to chat, have a beer, and eat good food together.
I’m happy to answer questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to obtain a Block Party Permit:
- Go to Public Works Building, 611 Second Avenue, 7 am – 3 pm.
- Ring buzzer to be let in the door. Take steps to 2nd floor.
- Take a check for $25 for the block party permit fee.
- Reserve rain date if you think it will be needed.
- The Public Works Office will send a request the Street Maintenance Division Office to deliver barriers before the event.
- Call on the Wednesday before to make sure barriers will be delivered. Ask for one to use at each end of your street. Point Breeze is in the 3rd Division; the telephone number is 412-255-0846. Point Breeze North is in the 2nd Division; the telephone number is 412-665-3609
Example invitation copy:
WHAT: Card Lane Annual Block Party - Meet your neighbors, have some fun, eat some food
WHEN: Saturday, September 5, 2015
Street closes: 3 pm; Cocktail Hour: 4 pm – BYOB and apps to share; Potluck supper: 5:30 pm – Bring a chair and a dish to share—mains, sides, veg, salad, etc. Picnicware supplied.
WHERE: on the Lane (please move your cars off the street!)
Contributions accepted at the party towards picnicware and a celebratory cake for dessert.
Visit the PBO Block Party webpage to find out how to enter our raffle to win $25 to cover the block party permit fee (deadline May 31). You'll also find more block party tips and a downloadable invitation template.