Labor Day Potluck

As predicted in my 4th of July Party post, our neighborhood group gathered together again for a potluck dinner in honor of the Labor Day holiday. We did not have family relay races or a bike parade this time, but our activities coordinator and fab friend, Jackie, did set up a tie dye table for the children. I have not tie dyed a t-shirt since I went to summer camp as a kid. I had forgotten how much fun the reveal is when you finally release the shirt from its rubberband prison.


The Activity: Ms. Jackie set up a low table and hung a clothesline. She provided t-shirts, Rit dye, a big tub of rubberbands, and brief instructions. After the kids tied up the t-shirt, Jackie and one assistant handled the dying, so the mess stayed contained. The shirts looked great!

The Snacks: I provided a Sun Dried Tomato Dip (thank you Ina Garten) that is great in warm weather. My favorite veggie for this dip is sugar snap peas, but all the standard raw vegetables work well. I also like pita chips and Snyder’s Dipping Sticks pretzels.

The Dinner: Rather than hamburgers and hot dogs, the group put together a fish taco bar. One neighbor fried up hush puppies and shrimp on site. We  had yellow rice, black beans, and a vinegar-y slaw to go with the tacos. Since we live in South Carolina, it is easy to get good fresh fish. If you can too, try a fish taco bar some time.

Anybody else have a food idea for a neighborhood get together that is different from the typical grilled hamburgers and hot dogs?

4th of July Block Party

It probably is not very helpful to post ideas about a 4th of July block party on July 5th, but it was a ton of fun. In fact, our group is considering doing it again for Labor Day… or Halloween… or just a Saturday night. I am also including a few recipes that are delicious and worth having for any group gathering. I know others hosted neighborhood block parties. What worked for you? What do I need to add to our upcoming block parties?

The Schedule: Our super friend and neighbor, Jackie, created a flyer with the afternoon’s schedule and delivered them to all of our mailboxes several days before the holiday.  The line-up included a bike/scooter/golf cart parade (with costumes or festive wear), classic relay races, a cake walk, potluck dinner, and fireworks.

The Parade: We all met at the end of the street at 4:00 and kicked off the events.  There was a seating area for the judges near the start line.  All participants received a certificate with a special recognition.  Our daughter earned most adorable for her wagon entry. You will note that I have shamelessly included a picture of our new puppy!

The Relay Races: Adults and children could participate in a three-legged race, sack race, dizzy bat, egg carry, and others.

The Cake Walk: I have not done one of these in years. Entrants stood on a numbered square.  As the music played, you walked around the squares and stopped when the music stopped.  A number was drawn, and if you were standing on the matching number, you got to pick any cake or treat from the cake table. This event was highly competitive!

The Prizes: After tallying the totals for the relay races, there were prizes for all. I can’t believe the trophies Ms. Jackie put together. You can do a lot with plasticware, dolls from the Dollar Store, and some gold spray paint. Well done!

The Food: The men stabbed and burned, so there were plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and pulled pork. I supplied a twice baked potato casserole that I had not made in awhile.  I had forgotten how amazing this casserole is for group events. I also shared a strawberry lemonade cocktail (with a kick) that was perfect for a hot day. Click here for 4th of July Recipes.