The 4th of July is my all-time-favorite holiday. Hot weather, bbq’s, parades, red-white-blue, sparklers, watermelon, celebrating our country – what’s not to like? But beyond this is an event I dream of all year long: the Market Street Block Party.
Since I was 7 years old, I have loved the holiday for this very reason. I don’t know what it was exactly – the party has a simple premise: bring together neighbors to celebrate together in the street. But I always remembered it as the day when all the kids in the neighborhood could run around in the street with no cars, free to throw water balloons and raw eggs at each other with the only consequence being another thrown back in your own face. I always ended up looking like I’d been through a food war by the evening’s end.
This year was the 33rd year, so it’s become a long-standing tradition. The agenda includes bike decorating in the morning; parade in the afternoon; reading of parts of the Declaration of Independence; cook-out with hotdogs, hamburgers, and a plethora of red-white-and-blue colored foods; and finally the GAMES! – water balloon toss, egg toss, watermelon eating contest, and whatever else people think of, usually involving messy foods and liquids.
This year yours truly, along with Lizzie and Amanda, took on the task of organizing the party. This meant getting the permit, making the posters, and organizing the entire neighborhood so that a) we didn’t have to buy all the food and supplies ourselves and b) we wouldn’t be the only ones there, forced to get rid of 200+ hamburgers and hotdogs ourselves. Which probably wouldn’t have ended well.
So we invited some people – lots of people – delivering letters seeking volunteers to help and then flyers to probably more than 300 houses in the neighborhood. We ended up with over 100 people this year, which we considered quite a success. Without many kids around, the parade was small – and followed by an impatient white pick-up truck that was not happy to be delayed by what must have looked like a discombobulated stroll through the street blasting Sg Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Regardless, everything went according to plan. And I got second in the watermelon eating contest for 18 and up.
When everyone had gone home, Lizzie and I took a well-earned dip in the creek before the fireworks started. I won’t say organizing the block party was easy – the ache in my feet the next morning was like none I’ve ever felt before – but it was well worth the effort.