A small boy moon walking down the middle of the road, sounds of gleeful laughter coming from a bouncy castle, neighbours sharing food and having a whole heap of fun. Sunday wasn’t the average kind of day on our street, it was street party day, and it is was fantastic. This is the first time we have held a street party on Springfield Road, but it won’t be the last. The street was full of people, full of laughter and music, full of kids at play, and it was lovely to see. I’m trying not to gush, but the atmosphere was amazing, like friendliness was oozing up out of the tarmac and wrapping everyone in a warm welcoming glow. We had such a fantastic day, and you know what, it was easier to organise than you might think.
A street party has been something we’ve wanted to do for ages but never really got around to it. This year a couple of neighbours at the top of the road kicked us all in to action and got the ball rolling. We started with a quick meeting around at their place, and everything evolved from there. First we sorted out letters to pop through letter boxes to make sure no one objected to the road being closed. Jon & Hannah, the neighbours who kicked everything off, submitted an application form to the council. asking for permission to close the road and to hold the party. Before we knew it we were putting up posters, popping flyers through letter boxes, and counting down the days to the 2nd of July.
We were pretty lucky as we got lots of things for free. A local DJ donated his time, we borrowed gazebos and tables, Perky Blenders donated coffee, and we were even able to borrow some parking spaces at the gym on Markhouse for residents to move their cars to. The bouncy castle was hired, and we purchased some craft materials for the kids and some food to kick off the community picnic table. The council provide funding for street parties so the stuff we purchased was covered. You might think that getting all of this stuff in place would be time-consuming, but it isn’t if you spread the work. We took what I can best describe as a micro volunteering approach to organising our party. Each person took on a few small tasks, which meant no one person was bogged down with doing everything.
The day its self started with the moving of cars and a complex game of bin shuffling. It was like a game of chess, but with wheelie bins instead of chess pieces. Each bin being carefully placed to prevent vacated parking spaces being taken again. At 10:30 we commenced operation food tent, the putting up of the large gazebo. It had a ridiculous number of pieces, but by some minor miracle there were no arguments, and we got it built pretty quickly. The bouncy castle arrived at 1pm, we kicked off at 2pm, and by 3pm the community picnic table was stacked with food, and the street was buzzing with people.
Street parties don’t have to be complicated or jam-packed with events. Our first party was really simple; DJ, face painting, crafts, food, and a bouncy castle, but people still came. As we discovered, people don’t need much of an excuse to get together. The day had a real community feel about it, and it has definitely bought us Springfield Roaders closer together. The magic behind events like this isn’t so much what you do on the day, but who you do it with, your neighbours. So, with lots of summer left, what are you waiting for? Go and knock on your neighbours door and see where that first hello can take you.