Spring block party
Sun, 06/07/2009 – 21:42 | by Aren Cambre
Annual spring block party where neighbors can meet each other. More significant event than fall picnic.
- 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.
- The block party is traditionally the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
- The block party runs 6 PM – 9 PM.
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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
- 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:
- 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
- Food (assuming hamburgers are main course):
- From the Hispanic meat market:
- Meat (25 lbs chicken, 35 lbs beef were used in 2008)
- Purchased at warehouse food store:
- Pico de gallo
- Donated from local grocery store:
- Sour cream
- Water (3 large cases, probably need more next time)
- Sodas (8 24 ct. cases)
- Ice (ten 10 lb bags)
- From the Hispanic meat market:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Sheryl Perier and Tommy Nelson (2010)