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Checklist: How to plan a block party

Here are some basic guidelines for organizing a block party. Be sure to read the City of Ottawa event planning guide for more information about the things you need to know, such as special rules for serving alcohol and limiting consumption.

Three Months Before

  • Form a Block Party Committee.
  • Hold a planning meeting.
  • Decide who will be the main contact person, responsible for sending out invitations and taking RSVPs from guests.
  • Assign responsibilities to committee members:
    • publicity
    • finances
    • food and refreshments
    • activities and entertainment
    • permit applications, insurance and other legal requirements
    • clean-up
  • Survey the neighbourhood to select the date for the party.
  • Plan your finances for the party:
    • Set a budget for the event
    • Decide if you will seek sponsorships or donations for food, dishes, drinks and activities
  • Apply for permits you will need to host the event.
  • Decide how the food will be handled. Will the Committee:
    • buy food and drinks and charge guests a flat fee?
    • plan a menu and assign dishes to each household?
    • ask everyone to bring a main course and drink for their own family, and a side dish to share?
    • serve alcoholic beverages?

Six Weeks to One Month Before

  • Review the city’s Noise By-Law to make sure your event adheres to it.
  • Send out invitations by email or letter drop (ask people to bring their own chairs).
  • Get barricades to block off the streets around the party.
  • Purchase insurance to cover the event.
  • Book portable toilet facilities.
  • Reserve equipment you need to rent (tables, tents, sound system, etc.)

One Week Before

  • Publicize the party. This can be signs posted throughout the neighbourhood, ads in local newspapers or a phone call chain.
  • Confirm all arrangements that have been made with emergency, police and fire departments.
  • Confirm arrangements for barricades, entertainment, food, refreshments, tents, tables and any other equipment that will be rented or borrowed.

After the Event

  • Join forces with your neighbours to clean up. Popsicles or freezies are great motivators to get kids to help clean up!
  • Send thank yous to sponsors, donors and anyone else who helped make the event a success.
  • Meet to evaluate the event’s success and things that might be improved.
  • Set a date for next year’s party!