10 Tips for Hosting a Summer Block Party in Philly

One of the coolest things about living in the city is the block parties. This quintessential celebration of summer can be a huge extravaganza or just a great day filled with a strong sense of community, great food and good fun. It's a great tradition you can have with your kids in the summer year after year. 

Hosting a block party might sound like a huge, expensive task, but with the proper planning and neighborhood participation, it can also be a great time.

Here are 10 tips for hosting a fun and affordable block party:

  1. First thing is first: get neighbors on board and make sure there is a strong consensus.
  2. The city permit is your next step. Early submission ensures you get the date you want as street events in Philadelphia will only be approved for five dates a year per block. Note, that weekday block parties are $150, with an additional fee of $60 if a block party request is made less than 21 days before the event. Also, make sure to indicate a rain date in your application.
  3. Contact the city to inform them of the bulk recyclables and trash. Although you won't be able to arrange an early pickup, you may be fined if the recycling and trash are not properly secured and stored until collection.
  4. Recruit neighbors to co-host with you and shoulder the burden, aiming for at least 5 to 7 depending on the size of your block, but assign a captain (or take on the role yourself) who is the main point of contact.
  5. Make a pool for everyone to contribute to so that each neighbor (who can) helps offset the costs.
  6. Borrow where you can: from tables to grills, you can borrow in and around your neighborhood (I recommend using one of the many Philadelphia list-serves or parent groups on Facebook to recruit items).
  7. Recruit donations from local businesses. If you live in or near a commercial corridor you can sometimes get donations from businesses (from food to cash to services) in exchange for the advertisement and good will that you generate.
  8. Promote your party with flyers and posters in your nearby coffee shops, bars and restaurants, and on social media.
  9. Recruit local talent - you may be amazed at how talented your neighbors are. From garage bands that would love a gig, to neighbors who may dabble in face painting or balloon animals, you can have extra attractions that work on donations.
  10. Kiddie pools and water balloons can be an easy way to make a party fun for kids without adding too much to your bottom line. No need for giant, expensive bouncy castles. 

At the end of the day, all you need is food, music, a little pre-planing and a good attitude, and you and your neighbors are guaranteed a great time!

Photo credit: Philly Happenings.