The Maple Park Neighbourhood Party planning involved a group of ~5 neighbours who liked the idea of coming together for an inclusive, all ages, good ol’ fashioned gathering. We began planning a few months prior to our event, which we set for Sunday, September 17, 2023. The first step was getting an invitation out into the community. Luckily, once our event flyer was designed (thank you, Canva!) and sent out to the planning group, distribution was divvied up, and mailbox drops began. One of the neighbours’ daughters (who does the local paper route) was able to insert the flyer into her route, helping us with a good amount of the distribution. We decided to flyer drop about a 6-block radius around the park where our event would take place, but we also popped up some flyers in public spaces to help spread the word.
Keeping our modest budget in mind, we opted to keep the party simple…snack foods, field games and play equipment for kids, homemade giant bubbles, a harvest and book share table and a seasonal painting activity led by an enthusiastic neighbour artist. The planning group of neighbours contributed their sports equipment, materials, art supplies and outdoor toys, which drew in the children and made the event fun and engaging. Because of everyone’s generous pooling of equipment, we saved on budget and didn’t have to rent a thing!
We spent our budget on snacks, prizes for all children, and ice cream sandwiches to end the event right!
On event day, we had about 50 people in attendance across the age span, from babies to seniors. The bulk of the attendees were families, many of which hadn’t met previously. What a great opportunity to spend some time getting to know our neighbours just a bit better. We hosted a number of fun field games, including three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, and simple running races for the younger kids. These games provided laughs all around, especially the all-ages tug-o-war game at the end! The community really came through for the harvest share and book share table; we had quite the bounty and good reads and plenty to pass from one household to another.
A really great energy could be felt, and we heard neighbours share that they were glad they decided to join in. Who knows, maybe through these micro-connections, some new supportive neighbourly relationships will bloom. We recommend having a planning group of five or more people so that the weight of planning an event like this can be shared and ideas bounced off others!