Dancing in the street: build community through cooking with a summer block party!
Recapture the feeling of being a kid on a summer night. It's time to throw a summer block party! We're sharing tips on how to plan one that's sure to help you cook up a little community this summer.
What are your favourite childhood taste memories of summer? The smell of the barbecue firing up; eating melting popsicles on a hot sidewalk curb; spooning coleslaw off a paper plate? Much of the food we enjoy in summer is simple, outdoors, and communal: summer is about enjoying food with your friends and neighbours. That’s why a block party is the perfect way to get your community together for a meal...and to celebrate summer!
A block party can be big or small: it might shut down a quiet side street and be advertised with posters, festival-style; or it might just be a few families from your apartment building gathered in a courtyard. Whether you start small or go big, here are some of our favourite tips for organizing your own summer block party:
- Plan with others: get together a few neighbours as your block party planning team. This way you can start answering key questions together, like how big your party will be, where you will hold it, and whether you will need to apply for a license to shut down your street.
- Once you have the basic outline of when the party will be and what it will involve, get in touch with all of your neighbours to ask them to save the date. If you’re going big, make posters and put them around your neighbourhood.
- Make a list of any extra items you will need—for example, tables to hold the food; extension cords; or a barbecue.
- Ask everyone to bring a meal item, drinks and folding chairs, potluck style. When everyone contributes, you’ll be sure to have enough to eat: plus, it’s a chance to share everyone’s favourite summer foods!
- Bring the fun! Everyone can unite around food, and there are so many ways to enjoy it together: you might consider asking everyone to bring a favourite family recipe, or host a friendly food competition for the best pie or salad.
- Turn up the music: whether you’ve got neighbours with their own instruments, or a sound system on an extension cord, this is your chance to dance in the street!
We’ve got lots of recipes for your family to try in our collections, but here are some of our summer favourites:
- Classic Potato Salad
- Baby Potato Salad
- River wraps
- Healthy burgers
- Salmon burgers
- Greek salad
- Quinoa salad
- Marshmallow salad
And all of our pizza recipes taste fantastic when you grill them on the barbecue!
For more resources and advice, we like this detailed block party planning guide from Canadian Living, as well as this simple guide for a frugal block party. The City of Colwood offers a helpful block party planning tutorial. And activities help keep block parties fun for kids—check these ideas out as a starting place for your planning.
If you’re looking for more great ideas to build community through cooking outdoors this summer, try these reads:
* How to throw a beach picnic
* How to master camp cooking
* Recipes from around the world that beat the heat—and taste great at a party!