Block party: It’s time for those neighborly get-togethers

Sydney Schwartz

Each summer, the residents of Elm Drive in Canton take barbecue grills, beach chairs and potluck dishes to the end of the cul-de-sac.

They set up a Bounce Castle and a blow-up pool for the kids. Then they gather in a circle by a tiki torch and eat, drink and socialize late into the night.

Summertime block parties are an annual tradition in many South Shore neighborhoods. After getting city or town permission, neighbors close their streets to car traffic and gather on front yards, sidewalks and streets for food, outdoor games and other fun.

“It’s a chance for the neighbors to get out and have a good time,” said Beth Magann, who helps organize the Elm Street block party. “The kids really just love it.”

On Avon Street in Marshfield, neighbors eat snow cones and cotton candy, get their faces painted, play basketball, dance and sing, and even twirl hula hoops and do the limbo.

At the Orchard Drive-Old Cart Path neighborhood in Pembroke, children go on pony rides, splash in an inflatable pool and frolic on a water slide.

Magann, the Canton resident, said a neighbor came up with the idea for the Elm Street party three years ago. She had attended block parties as a child.

“It seemed like everybody got to know each other better after that first year,” Magann said. “It’s just sort of an excuse to become friendlier with your neighbors.”

Judy McKie of Avon Street in Marshfield said when she started her block party seven years ago, about 40 people attended. Now, she said, there can be as many as 140.

“We’ve got a ton of kids,” she said. “Everybody dances and sings.”

Magann said the kids in her neighborhood can’t wait for next year’s party.

“They just count the days to it,” she said. “They get to stay up past bedtime. It’s fun.”

The Patriot Ledger