Monday, August 10, 2015

Let's Talk Block Parties: Yay!

This past 4th of July, as I considered the misery of traffic, parking and all of the desperate attempts to find a spot on the beach, or in the park, or at the stadium, I considered the scene in The Sandlot. Do you remember that scene? The 4th of July Block Party they had? The one with children running through the empty streets on a perfect American summer night?!

And I thought: DUuuuuDE.


Just think of it! You don't have to GO anywhere to celebrate America!!! We LIVE in America! Right here, on our very street. I looked around at all of the convenience, a street positively brimming with American folks. Yes.

So naturally, what could be more patriotic than gathering such neighbors and celebrating all of that freedom ringing American Neighborly-ness?! I asked around to a few neighbor/friends, who all seemed to think this was a plausible idea. And so it began.

To start, I gathered my most important community organizers:

These girls know the streets, they know the deets, and come on... how could you possibly shut the door on one of these faces when they show up on your porch? Lily literally knows every single person within a two mile radius from our house. The kid is a social butterfly... on butterfly steroids...actually I'd describe her more as a giant social unicorn with butterfly wings really.

The Exploitation of Cuteness Campaign was officially launched.

They delivered the following flyers:

{Modified for internet safety. Please excuse the mild paranoia.}

The girls were instructed to give their best puppy dog eyes, flittering eyelids, and pouty lips to ask if each neighbor would be willing to sign up for the following:

We also gathered permission signatures for us to take to the city to officially be allowed to block our street. Check with your city, it should be relatively easy to obtain a permit if you gather signatures and follow those good ole' All American Bureaucratic checklists.

As far as pre-planning was concerned, that was about all it took to launch our first pilot block party!

I was fairly nervous a few days before the main event. I mean, gosh!,  I've never organized an event like this, and I purposefully planned that it would have to be community driven. I sure as heck wasn't going to make all of the food. We went to Costco and bought enough hot-dogs to feed everyone, but beyond that we were entirely reliant on neighborly participation. What if nobody shows up?! What if there isn't enough to eat?! What am I going to do with 150 hot dog buns?!!

Well, I am thrilled to report...

...that all of my fears dissipated as the evening came and the crowd grew and GREW!!! The street showed up, and showed up in a big way. The food tables were positively bursting, the lawns quickly filled with folding chairs and conversation and laughter. The whole thing ended up being a complete blast and success. WHO KNEW?!!!

You know, I had this sneaking suspicion that the world is quite full of incredibly kind, interesting, different, friendly people...

And sometimes, all we need is a reason to step outside and say hello!

So, next 4th of July, I say give a block party a try! Create the party with the people you are surrounded by. If your area is anything like ours...that is to say, full of will not be disappointed in just how lovely and willing your nearest neighbors can be.

{All photo cred belongs to the beautiful Natalie, our resident photographer. THANK YOU NAT!!}

That's a wrap! And thus I conclude our very first, sure to be continued, Fourth of July Block Party. 

If any of you readers want to start one in your area, email me at and I'll happily send you the graphics to print the flyers/signs shown with your street name. No charge, I will gladly oblige in the name of neighborly/American citizen/Rae's Corner duty.

The End!


The Mrs. said...

this looks so amazing! I didnt have time to read through everything-but im sure I will have to come back. Thanks for sharing!!! I saw on instagram that you might have gone sailing with your sister...? what a lovely time.

Rachel Haack said...

Jamee! Yes! Sailing it was, so fun. Miss u and hope all is grand with your lovely fam. Saw Jakey's bday photos...canNOT believe he is so big now!