A Message from the Federation of Calgary Communities
Summer is almost here! What better way to kick off the season than to host a block party? Whether you want to get to know your neighbours, celebrate your community, discover something new about the area, or just have a good time, look no further!
There is no better way to get to know your neighbours than to have a block party. Neighbourhood block parties can develop relationships among neighbours, which creates a strong sense of community and a safer place to live. Block parties provide an opportunity for neighbourhood residents to get to know one another, have some fun, and mingle! A connected neighbourhood can create a sense of pride, safety, and cohesion for all who live there. Neighbours who know each other can look out for one another and create a safer community.
A block party isn’t just about gathering people together on a street; it’s about bringing a community together. Block parties offer the rare opportunity to bring a sense of small-town life into Calgary. Block parties don’t have to happen on a road or a street; they can happen anywhere that brings neighbours together.
Let us help you throw the best block party that Calgary’s ever seen! All you’ll need to do is follow these steps:
- Put together your party planning committee. It may seem like a daunting task, but planning a block party is easier that it seems – especially with a good group of neighbours working together! It’s best to begin this step at least two months before the date of your event to leave time for planning, petitioning, and permits.
- As soon as possible, get out there and get your petition signed by all affected neighbours! This is an important step that must be completed early in the process. The following information should be indicated on the petition:
- Date of the party/activity.
- Address of the party/activity.
- Names and addresses of all affected residents within the block area.
- One adult signature from each household either accepting or rejecting the block party/street activity. If rejected, obtain a brief statement explaining why so that consideration may be given by approving authorities on the applicant’s request.
- Whether the resident owns or rents the property within the block area.
- Home and business telephone number of the applicant.
- Map showing closure of road for the block party/activity.
- Apply for a Block Party and Play Street Permit with the City of Calgary.
Timeline: Minimum of 15 business days with completed petition
- Put your idea together. Think of the fun, different things you can do! Your block party could follow any number of themes: a BBQ, potluck, catered meal, picnic, garden tour, cultural gathering, water park, or historical walk. Will you have games? Live music? An outdoor movie? A talent show? The options are endless for what a block party could be. Have fun with mixing and matching ideas!
- Let’s talk logistics! A crucial step in bringing your block party to life is planning the logistics. Here are a few things for you to think about:
- Parties cost money! How are you planning to pay for your block party? Neighbours can chip in for the party, but also consider reaching out for donations/sponsorships from local companies to cut costs on food and entertainment! Be sure to check for any grants or funding opportunities you may be eligible for. Otherwise, you could hold a local bottle drive or a community garage sale to help fundraise for your block party!
- Will you need tables/seating? Volunteer supervisors? Decorations? Equipment? A rain-out option? What is your plan for food and drinks?
- Promote your party! Let’s talk promotion – after all, you want people to show up! Chances are that your neighbours were made aware of the party when you petitioned to them earlier. But have you updated them with a date, time, and location? Consider making a flyer to pass around door-to-door! Social media is also a great free tool to spread the word. Consider partnering up with your local community association to help spread the word! They might also have some resources or tips and tricks to help you throw the best block party possible.
*Note that some grants require partnership with insured organizations (e.g., community associations) to receive funding.
- Have fun!
For more information, check out this handy guide to block parties: https://calgarycommunities.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Tip-Sheet-Love-Where-You-Live-Host-a-Block-Party.pdf.