By Marina Hernandez
Inspiration for hosting a neighborhood event can come from many places: an upcoming holiday or season, a personal interest, or an extension of an organized community building event. We’ve collected a few tips from neighborhood event organizers with annual traditions to help you begin planning what could turn out to be a beloved neighborhood tradition for your block.
Plan Your Neighborhood
Tradition Around a Holiday or Season
“The All-Time Biggest and Bestest Hunt EVER!!” reads this year’s 24th Annual Easter Killdee St. Egg Hunt flyer. It’s a tradition that goes back even before current event hosts, Tiff and Brett Alexander, moved into their neighborhood. They attended the hunt for the first time in 2000, when their daughter Madi was just a year old and have enjoyed it nearly every year since. Tiffany suggests inviting friends from school or sports to your neighborhood event and encouraging neighbors to do the same. “Long Beach is a very big, small city and you find that often friends know each other and it makes the event that much more fun.”
Other holiday or seasonal event ideas: A summer kick-off splash party, a holiday progressive dinner, 4th of July bike parade.
Organize Your Neighborhood Tradition Around a Personal Interest or Hobby
A 15-year long neighborhood inside joke has become the namesake for this year’s 2nd Annual Stinkin’ Possum Derby, a pinewood derby in the Plaza East neighborhood. Organizers Brian and Ronda Davidson thought it would be fun to host a derby and just began planning. Brian suggests working with close neighbors to plan and host events. “We are using our neighbor’s long driveway for the race track.” This year’s event includes a car show, multiple races, potluck and neighbor, Mary Denk, singing the National Anthem.
Other personal interest event ideas: Chili cook off, plant swap, book swap
Look to an Organized Community Building Event to Help Create Your Tradition
Possibly the easiest way to begin a neighborhood tradition is to get a little help from an organization that specializes in community building. WeloveLB.org is a local nonprofit that specializes in facilitating seasonal parties like a summer ice cream social, fall pumpkin party or the newly added, Jacaranda Fest by providing promotional material and moral support for first timers. Executive director of We Love LB, Scott Jones, shares one of his top pieces of advice for first time hosts, “Using a baseball metaphor, look to hit singles, not home runs. Don’t expect the entire block to show up to your first party. If a handful of neighbors show up that’s a win you can build from, and that is more than enough to have fun with.”