Spring block party

Goals: 
Annual spring block party where neighbors can meet each other. More significant event than fall picnic.
Status: 
Program
Description: 

The spring block party is an annual fajita cookout and  "meet your neighbors" social event.

It has historically been on Erin Dr., the one-block street between Tralee and Tranquilla. However, LPENA is investigating alternatives for 2010.

Date/Time

The block party is traditionally the Saturday before Mother's Day.

The block party runs 6 PM - 9 PM.

Key Details

  • The main ingredients are usually chicken and beef fajita meat, tortillas, rice, beans, and salsa. These are usually donated or provided at discount by a local Hispanic meat market. (As consideration, we invite the owner to speak in front of the neighborhood briefly.)
  • The meat market also provides labor at a reasonably hourly rate. Typically 3 cooks are employed for 3 hours each.
  • Several of the trimmings and drinks are donated by a local grocery store.
  • A local band performs for 3-4 hours.
  • Use of tables are donated by neighborhood residents. Check for residents who may have lots of tables, like florists.
  • Attendees generally bring:
    • Chairs
    • Desserts
    • Adult beverages, if desired
  • Bounce houses and face painter are arranged for children.
  • Sometimes the local fire department will bring their trucks and equipment in exchange for food.
  • The entire party ususally costs around $1000 +/- $200.

Implementation Schedule

Well in advance

  • Assign block party coordinator. This person coordinates volunteer efforts and arrangements.
  • Finalize date and location. Plan inclement weather backup date (following weekend?).
  • Conceptual idea of menu and activities.
  • Confirm location. Fill out and submit City of Dallas block party request form.
  • Arrange for band.
  • Arrange for face painter.
  • Solicit food and materials donations.
  • Arrange for cooks.
  • Reserve rental supplies or equipment such as bounce houses and tables.
  • Verify that outdoor signs exist and are available.

A few weeks beforehand

  • Invite city councilman, mayor, presidents of nearby neighborhood associations, and other officials as appropriate.
  • Invite fire department, police department if desired.
  • Plan for other entertaining events for children.
  • Printed flyer delivered to all houses or prominent mention in newsletter.
  • Arrange for house to run power from for bounce house.
  • Arrange for grills. Usually 3 gas grills and a large charcoal grill are sufficient.

Up to 1 week beforehand

  • Second printed flyer distributed to all houses.
  • Put up outdoor signs.
  • Arrange for help:
    • Setup crew. (5 people)
    • Cleanup crew. (8 people)
    • Person to pick up donated food beforehand. (Truck may be helpful because of amount of ice.)
    • Person to pick up meat and foods from meat market.
  • Arrange for nearby neighbors to provide roll carts for waste disposal.
  • Email reminder to entire neighborhood.
  • Find LPENA-owned supplies box and make sure it has necessary materials.

Day of

Typical event flow:

  • 4:00 PM: get donations from local grocery store
  • 4:30 PM: volunteers converge and set up
  • 5:00 PM: cooks arrive and prepare, band arrives and sets up
  • 5:45 PM: cooking begins
  • 6:00 PM: party begins
  • 7:00 PM: announcements
  • 7:30 PM: pinata
  • 9:00 PM: party over, cleanup crew cleans up

Shortly Afterward

  • Send thank you letters to all donors.

Necessary Services or Materials

  • Three gas grills (provided by neighbors) and large charcoal grill with charcoal and lighting mechanism.
  • Stuff used directly with cooking:
    • Utensils:
      • Various long-handled implements to handle meat on grill.
      • Sharp meat-cutting knives.
      • Large and small serving spoons for LPENA-provided side items and condiments.
    • Containers to place cooked meat
    • Containers to place side items
    • Paper towels
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Latex gloves
  • Stuff used by attendees:
    • Plates and bowls
    • Fork, spoon, knives
    • Paper towels
    • Napkins
  • Food (assuming hamburgers are main course):
    • From the Hispanic meat market:
      • Meat (25 lbs chicken, 35 lbs beef were used in 2008)
      • Rice
      • Beans
      • Tortillas
    • Purchased at warehouse food store:
      • Chips
      • Pico de gallo
      • Salsa
    • Donated from local grocery store:
      • Sour cream
      • Cheese
      • Water (3 large cases, probably need more next time)
      • Sodas (8 24 ct. cases)
      • Ice (ten 10 lb bags)
  • Cooks supplied by Hispanic meat market at $7/hr + tip, 4 cooks @ 3 hrs ea = $100 total
  • Several large ice chests to ice down drinks, hold meat before it's cooked, and store cold stuff
  • Bounce house
  • Name tags and markers
  • Roll garbage cans for trash disposal
  • Pinata event:
    • Pinata
    • Candy
    • Stick (to beat the pinata)
    • Rope (to hang pinata)

Some of these items may already be in an Association-owned plastic box. Find and verify contents of this box a few days beforehand.

Costs

LPENA usually pays for meats and sides at a discount. The grocery store usually provides all side items and condiments for free. LPENA usually bears the costs for all other items, incluiding band, rental, face painter, bounce houses, supplies, etc.

Be sure to use LPENA's tax exempt form to skip sales taxes.

Bounce houses were about $200 in 2008.

Band was $300 in 2008 and 2009.

Tips

  • It's much better to have leftover food than to turn people away hungry.
  • Attendance in 2007 and 2008 reached towards 175 people.
  • Better quality fajita meat is worth the expense.
  • This is a great opportunity to set up a membership renewal booth.
Leader: 
Sheryl Perier and Tommy Nelson (2010)