On June 16/19, about 80 neighbours gathered on the 2000 block of West 36 Avenue for our 9th annual block party!! While the kids enjoyed competitions in hockey, basketball, ping pong, and on the bouncy obstacle course, the adults chatted and caught up with each other on the year’s happenings. To round out this wonderful community event, seven brave kids showcased their comedic and artistic talents in our inaugural talent show! Special thanks to Vancouver Foundation and Kitsilano Neighbourhood House for the grant, which was used to provide hamburgers, hotdogs, and other tasty treats to all attendees!
Born of the disappointment over perceived lack of connection in the community, this event has more than met our initial goal in 2011, of getting to know our neighbours. We now have a What’s App group to inform each other about everything from coyote sightings and the latest car break-ins (sigh…) to “who wants my daughter’s old bike?” and “anyone get my parcel delivered by mistake?”. The block party has helped to foster a warm, friendly, helpful community in our little part of the world. Over the years, we have heard many stories of friends who wish they lived on our block and want to be advised when a house goes up for sale!
The event’s success is largely due to keeping it simple and committing to doing it every year. It’s nothing really fancy but it’s inclusive and fun and many of the kids have declared it their favourite event of the year!
Advice to anyone considering hosting their own block party is to just do it! Gather a committee of four or five people, go door to door to collect emails (you’ll need to do this anyway, to get residents to sign off on closing the block for the party – and this is, of course, a great way to get to know people and make their attendance more likely), pick a date and time, and make it a potluck! Start really small and, as the years go by, the format can change and expand, as it catches on and more people help out. A donations box at the event can help pay for expenses like a bouncy castle or food costs. (We currently split all costs between 10 committee members so donations help keep our individual costs down.) At this point, we all know who does what and, aside from a short meeting that involves wine, the party just kind of plans itself!

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