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  • 1.  Block parties are the best!

    Posted 02-24-2022 17:15
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    As the subject of this discussion suggests, I love being invited to block parties! It's great to meet your neighbors and play some yard games, and share your favorite dish/beverage. I have an office in the Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago and attended a couple block parties in 2019, but the pandemic shut them down the last couple years. So, now it's time to start planning for this years block parties (fingers crossed!). One disclaimer, you need to have a permit, to have a block party.
    Northcenter Chicago neighbors

     Here's a couple ideas to help you plan a block party of your own! How about a bounce house? They are not too expensive to rent and kids really love to jump around in them. You just need to make sure that someone is in charge to keep everyone safe. Hire a magician or a clown specializing in balloon creations. Some block parties even hire a band or acapella group!

    I also brought along a bunch of world coins for the neighborhood kids to search through and learn about other countries and their money. Kids learned to identify the ruler of the country, the denomination of the coin, and the time period that the coins were used. Having learned all that, they got to take some coins home and of course I encouraged them to plan a visit to Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Japan and spend some of their coins in their new "favorite" country. It also gave me the chance to introduce myself as a former Rotary exchange student and current Rotarian.

    A couple other ideas:
    Invite the local police or fire department to stop by your block party. Rent a snow cone, popcorn,  or cotton candy machine. Organize an egg toss, 3 legged race, pie eating contest, or other traditional contest that includes recognition or bragging rights.

    Well, hopefully I've given you a few new ideas and you'll want to help organize or attend a block party this Summer! 


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    John Kent
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  • 2.  RE: Block parties are the best!

    Posted 02-25-2022 10:18
    @John Kent, hooray for block party season approaching (although we have a fresh coat of snow here...spring and summer ARE coming)!

    My block has the best turnout when we call it an "ice cream social." Everyone seems to come out for ice cream, kids and adults :)​

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    Maria Liccardo
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  • 3.  RE: Block parties are the best!

    Posted 03-01-2022 08:24
    What a perfect time to start talking about block parties, @John Kent! Not only is the weather getting a tad nicer here, but I just got drafted by my resurgent neighborhood association to be the "event planner" for our street. How did that happen? Well, the older gentleman trying to turn over responsibilities to a younger contingent emailed as many of us as he could last month asking for our names, how many kids, addresses, etc. so he could put together a list. He also (cunningly!) asked us what we're looking forward to as the weather gets nicer. My answer: evening walks in the neighborhood while carrying a beverage and chatting with neighbors, which I  dubbed "sip and strolls." He emailed me back, saying "Congratulations, you're now the event planner! That's the most original idea I've heard in 30 years!" Full disclosure: I didn't come up with sip and strolls-- they kinda became a thing during the first spring of the pandemic! lol! Anyway, I'm happy to become our event planner and hope we can manage a block party this summer. We've lived here 7 years now and there's been nothing of the sort. In my old neighborhood, we had a block party annually and I was always on the planning committee.  So time for new blood and ​​​a bounce house. John, I love your coin sorting/history exercise for the kids. Now THAT'S an original and fantastic idea!

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    Maria Mooshil
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  • 4.  RE: Block parties are the best!

    Posted 03-01-2022 08:44
    @Maria Mooshil I love your account of how you got "drafted" to be the event planner. It reminds me of all the times I realized I opened my mouth and said too much, and got volunteered for something!  I'm sure you will do great. I miss block parties up here in the suburbs. What's much more likely is what I call "four corner summits." Where my four nearest neighbors will meet in the back yard where our fences meet. That is one thing I love about spring. After weeks of mostly being hunkered down inside, people are out in their yards again.
    I know some suburban neighborhoods have block parties but I think they are far fewer. Either that, or my block is not with it. Anyone else live in the suburbs and have a more robust block party experience?​

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    Arnie Grahl
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  • 5.  RE: Block parties are the best!

    Posted 03-03-2022 07:24
    Yes!  I grew up in Chicago, and the block parties were super!  The planners were awesome and creative!  Chicago offered cool police horses, jumping jacks, and splashing in fire hydrants!  We dressed up our bikes, our dogs, ourselves and everyone had a wheee-great  time!!  
        When I moved to a new neighborhood in Chicago, I didn't know anyone.  I sent out notes to my neighbors to chat about a block party. This brought out several happy folks to do their part.  For a decade after, we held them.  Tim had a projector to show fun films, I made face paintings, Bob and Leo brought out their grills.  Peggy, Linda, and Barbara created salads and sides for a delightful dinner!!   For me, the best part is the feeling of  community which comes together for the fun of it!!  We all deserve fun, especially after our trip with Covid!!  Have  a good night!

    Elizabeth Wyman





  • 6.  RE: Block parties are the best!

    Posted 03-03-2022 07:59
    @Arnie Grahl - I love the "four corner summit" idea! How fun! I moved to a suburb outside of Chicago when I was in middle school and that was the first place I'd really experienced a block party. There was a short connecting street between the street I lived on and the one just east of it, so our neighbors used that as the block party space. It was really fun! Now that I'm in the city - I see them all over the place in the summer. Usually while I'm riding my bike and then have to re-route a plan - or ride slowly through it while everyone looks at me through the bouncy-houses, haha. 

    @Elizabeth Wyman - I love that you took the initiative to bring that to your new neighborhood and that everyone jumped in! And you're absolutely right - we all deserve fun!! ​​

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    Stay awesome,
    Quinn
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