In my neighborhood, the annual Seattle Night Out block party fest looks like this: a scrum of kids dousing each other with water balloons; neighbors swapping gossip and email address over glasses of wine; and Chuck, the neighborhood nonagenarian, settled into a chair to receive compliments about his astonishingly vigorous health.
Nearly 1,400 such parties, with an estimated 40,000-plus attending, will sprout across Seattle Tuesday evening, about equivalent to the crowd for a Sounders game.
Street closed, card table up, tabbouleh salad served, kids loosed, a neighborhood finds itself. This is one of my favorite civic events of the year.
Officially, these are part of the National Night Out Against Crime, so if you register your block party, there’s a good chance a police officer or firefighter will show up. Here’s an incomplete map of registered parties. “If neighbors know each other, it’s harder for crime to take hold in a neighborhood,” said Shanna Christie of the Seattle Police Department.
So why have just one a year? The City of Seattle isn’t standing in the way. You can legally close a street (except for arterials, bus stops and intersections) for free for neighborhood events. Basic details and contact number are here. Fourteen-day advance notice is best. Party on.