How to Throw the Best Block Party Ever
Meet the new block party. It’s tricked-out, gourmet, and, dare we say, cooler than any of those pool parties your friends in the ’burbs are throwing. Here’s what you need to know, how to navigate the city’s red tape, and who to call for, well, everything.
For No-Sweat DIY Grilling: Not Just Hot Dogs, Haddon Heights // Save yourself the trouble of dragging your Weber down the street: Rent barbecue pits from this New Jersey-based company. They’ll deliver them to an agreed-upon location (think clustered in a driveway, cook-off-style), and they’ll even bring a selection of their house-made sausages, bacon and, yes, hot dogs for you to grill up. // Starting at $400.
For Kids’ Games You’ll Want to Play: Fun Fieldz, East Norriton // Transform a sorry side lot into a scaled-down sports arena with the help of this company, a trio of dads who’ll create miniature football, soccer and Wiffle ball fields — complete with goalposts and field markers — in your ’hood. They’ll also dispatch a referee to arbitrate sporting disputes, leaving adults free to watch from the sidelines. Purists can even opt for a “Master of Ceremonies” upgrade, with an M.C. who provides play-by-play commentary. // Starting at $350.
For Unexpected Desserts: Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Kensington // Rent this retro ice-cream tricycle and you’ll get a scooper to staff the cart, six flavors (including non-dairy and seasonal options), and up to three hours of service. If quirky flavors like black pepper butter pecan and cherry hibiscus don’t fit the bill (you can schedule a tasting beforehand), collaborate with them to create a one-of-a-kind flavor. // Starting at $350.
For Unfussy Catering: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown // Forget chafing dishes and aluminum pans. The beloved local microbrewery satisfies grown-up attendees with the Brew Pub on Wheels, its amped-up answer to the food truck. The 40-foot-long mobile pub comes with three beers on draft, a bevy of bottled brews, a grill for food, and staffers to man it all. // Starting at $2,000.
For Wow Factor: FunFlicks, Norristown // Turn your street into a drive-in with a giant inflatable movie screen. A FunFlicks technician delivers and sets up the 16-foot screen, audio and projection, then takes everything down at the end of the night. Your only responsibility: selecting a crowd-pleasing flick. // Starting at $299.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Throwing block parties in the city means going through a bit of red tape. Here’s how to prevail:
- Know your date. Block parties can only be held five times a year per block, and only from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekends, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.
- Apply online. You’ll need to fill out and submit a street event application at least 21 days prior to the event, along with a $25 per-event fee.
- Rally your neighbors. At least 75 percent of households on the block (including apartment and condo tenants) must agree to the event; print and fill out the petition attached to the application.
- Clean up. Call the streets department (215-686-5560) five days in advance for an early trash pickup. It’ll cost $50.