How to throw the perfect Diamond Jubilee street party
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee takes place from Saturday June 2nd to Tuesday June 5th 2012, with celebratory activities throughout the UK and across the Commonwealth.
If you’re thinking about hosting a street party to toast Her Majesty’s sixty years on the throne, Quidblog has a few handy hints and tips to make your day a rip roaring success.
Communicate with your neighbours
Organising a street party can pose several logistical problems, so if you’re eager to celebrate with your neighbours it’s a good idea to get them involved from the off. Be as inclusive as possible by making sure everybody gets an invitation, hold an initial meeting to consult on a date to hold your celebration, agree on a budget and share the responsibility for sorting food, drink, music, seating, tables and entertainment.
You’ll also need to make sure someone is in charge of the tidy-up operation once the festivities are over. Remember if you’re the one who is taking a leading role, it’s best to guide others with a light tiller by delegating tasks, without micromanaging.
Check with the council
As you might expect you have to get permission from your local council if you’re eager to throw a street party. If you don’t you run the risk of having your table full of jelly and ice cream being rammed head on by traffic. Most councils recommend speaking to them at least four weeks in advance (some require as much as 12 weeks notice), and you can usually fill in an online form on their website. For more information, see direct.gov.uk.
If for whatever reason you are unable to close your road - perhaps you live on a major bus route - why not hold your event in a local park and neighbour’s garden? So long as alcohol is not for sale, you shouldn’t need a licence to drink a few beers with your friends. A single day event insurance policy is also a good idea, especially if you’re planning on a tug-of-war competition, and helps cushion the blow should expensive operations be cancelled due to rain or if people injure themselves.
The Union Jack lends itself very nicely to street parties with a red, white and blue colour scheme excellent for brightening up even the dreariest of streets. While all manner of companies have jumped on the Jubilee bandwagon and offer all manner of themed picnic ware and decorations, it’s fun to make your own and a great means of getting children involved.
Think kitsch homemade ribbons and paper chains for lampposts, lots of bunting (of course) and colourful tablecloths. Get the kids involved in making royal inspired headwear and paper lanterns and for a final flourish help make them make costumes not just for themselves but for the adults as well.
Food and drink
If you are just inviting a few friends over to your place, then you aren’t restricted in the type of dishes you can prepare; anything goes! Of course, if you’re dealing with an entire street, it’s obviously a good idea (from both a practical and financial standpoint) to get others involved. Ask invited households to contribute either a savoury or sweet dish (remember the vegetarians as well) and be sure to make sure everybody doesn’t make cucumber sandwiches.
Kids love finger food so picnic essentials such as mini pork pies, sausage rolls, scotch eggs are perfect. For an easy to make dish with Royal leanings, how about Coronation chicken? Served with salads, rice or cous cous it’s a more filling alternative to sarnies and can be made in industrial quantities! For those really in the summer spirit a fail-safe option, so long as you cook things thoroughly, is a barbeque.
As for desserts? Well, you can’t go wrong with jelly and ice cream, trifles, sponge cakes and cup cakes. If you fancy a refreshing tipple be sure to have Pimm’s and lemonade on tap, or if you’re really pushing the boat out treat yourself to Champagne. For children, fruit squash and cordial is a great alternative to juice as it’ll go further, while cups of tea are a necessity for everybody else.
Plan the entertainment
It’s not everyday your kids are able to play in the street in a safe environment. Given the rarity of the occasion you’ll want to make it a memorable day, so planning the entertainment is a necessity.
While the mums and dads are gossiping over a cup of tea, get the kids involved in pass-the-parcel or skittles, organise drawing and painting competitions, have a magician and face-painter on hand and make sure there is music (but not too loud) so that they can have a boogie.
Tombolas, raffles, quizzes and cake-baking competitions are great to keep the adults entertained, while street parties are also a great time to hold a ‘swap shop’ allowing your neighbours the chance to get their hands on any old knick knacks and clothes you’ve been meaning to take to the local charity shop.
With the English weather as temperamental as you’d expect in the build up to a June showpiece on our wet little island, there’s no guarantee it won’t rain. Don’t let inclement weather totally upset the day, do your best to be prepared. Make sure gazebos are on hand to cover food and if necessary be prepared to invite people indoors to warm up.
What are you doing for the Jubilee weekend? Have you got any top tips for holding a street party? Do you remember street parties from when you were a child? Let us know in the comment section below. We always love to chat.