We asked our neighbour Jeannie to write a few lines about our block party – here’s what she said:
East 11th Block Party
I attended our block party on Sunday, September 5, 2021. I’ve lived in the neighbourhood of Grandview-Woodland for 28 years and have attended a number, though not all block parties. Holding a party in the neighbourhood provides a fantastic opportunity to meet people who live close by, some you will know already, some you will have seen in passing, others are complete strangers until the party. From experience, I know that many of these meetings with neighbours at the summer block party on the street mark the beginning of new acquaintances, and sometimes deep friendships among us. From that day forward, the street looks different. I recognize and can comfortably greet more passers-by than before. We smile, may greet one another by name, we share a quip, a comment, a laugh, a concern. We may stop for a chat and over time those conversations sometimes deepen. The social landscape of the street has changed – I feel connected to my neighbourhood as I did not before.
It takes only a small group of people to set the party up. I’m not one of the starters but I’m often available and willing to jump in a few days before and on the day to help set up and take down. Our neighbourhood is fortunate to have one resident who always takes the lead to apply to the City of Vancouver for funding that enables us to purchase a few fold up tables, canopies, and hotdogs! She inspires and prods the rest of us to action.
This year the party officially ran from 3-7pm. In fact a small number of residents started setting up tables, a smattering of chairs or benches, steel canopies, and tables, barbecues and some food, garbage and recycling bins, around 2pm.
Just seeing a collection of people setting up in the middle of the street draws the attention of passers-by.
“What’s happening?” asks one young man I’d never met before.
“It’s a neighbourhood party …. Where do you live? ….Join us, it’d be great to see you here.”
Another group of teenage boys eyeing up the potato chip packets and hot dogs asks, “Can we eat some of this food?”
“Of course, everyone is welcome…”.
Young children, accompanying their parents begin to wander about the by now barricaded-street. A Sonos speaker is pulled out of a house and the sound of music floats into the mix. Despite the small speaker, it seems to draw people out of their houses on to the street. The festivities continue, as people arrive, some carrying portable chairs, and food to be cooked on the barbecues waiting for them. As the afternoon passes, the voices grow, in intimate conversations and group discussions interspersed with chuckles, and laughter.
I didn’t count, but estimate there were more than 120 people in attendance over the few hours of the festivities. There were children, teenagers, young adults, and parents of young and older children in attendance. There were house owners, and apartment renters, long time residents and temporary ones.
I count the party a great success!!