Our block has held a block party for 5 years in a row, and it is an Amazing Amount of Fun. It’s also an amazing amount of work to set it all up.
But it’s absolutely SO much fun, I thought I would let the community know the ins and outs of getting a block party off the ground, because it is tricky to figure out where to go and what to do.
I turn to my neighbor and blogger, Elise Derby, for expertise in this matter, since she’s been in charge of our block party every year. I like to think it’s a labor of love, but I know for sure it’s a of of labor. There are lots of us who try to help out, and on the day of the party, everyone always chips in, but all the prep work is handled, oh so capably, by Elise.
(I’m buttering her up because I never want her to stop being in charge. Keep the love flowing to Elise!)
*** UPDATE: My vacation has thrown my blog all out of whack! Let’s get it right this time! ***
Elise says every year has been slightly different, but there are some basic steps that have to be taken each time. First of all, between 3 and 4 months before you want to have your block party, the neighbors need to get together and decide what kind of party they want to have and how much money they want to spend on it. We started out with an all-pot-luck version to keep costs low. Everyone brought out their own tables and EZ-up tents. Now we rent those things and have them delivered. Plus we get a bouncy house and sometimes a dunk tank. But the rest is still pot-luck sharing.
In terms of official steps to be taken, it goes like this: Fill out the paperwork online here at the Bureau of Street Services website and download the petition form, which must be signed by 51% of the neighbors on the affected street. You then have to get insurance for the event, the price for which has gone up from approximately $100 5 years ago to approx. $250 now.
Once the petition is signed, insurance is purchased, and a Hold Harmless form is filled out, the entire packet gets sent to Street Services. Then there are City permit fees of approx. $300, which have been waived in the past by our great City Council members, but since LA is in a bit of a budget crisis, the fees may not be waived any more. (Check with your Councilperson’s office to be sure.) Then, finally, there are Temporary No Parking Signs that get posted a few days before the event, so people will know not to park in the middle of the party, and barricades that block off the street on the actual day.
Yes, it is a ton of work, but it is so worth it. I love our neighborhood and having the chance to hang out with my neighbors on a beautiful summer day is one of the best things about living here. I highly recommend it for your neighborhood as well!