Ye Olde Neighborhood Fourth of July BBQ

I experienced something recently of a bygone era. Something so full of nostalgia it almost brought a tear to my eye.  Something we don’t see much of these days, yet its simplicity just about left me speechless.

I went to a neighborhood barbecue.


OK, some of you who may dwell in great cul-de-sacs might think this is a ‘no-biggie’, but for others – when is the last time you got together for a neighborhood barbecue or potluck?  My son and I were lucky enough to be included in an end-of-the-school-year party that his friend’s family organized in their neighborhood.  Apparently, my son’s friend wanted to have a ‘hooray-school’s-out party’ but his mom – my friend Jill – wanted to wait and see what the weather was going to do first.  Been there.

The day before the end of school the forecast promised sun, so my friend Jill gave her son the green light to have a party.  He whipped together a flyer and he and his mom hand delivered them to about a dozen neighbors surrounding their home…


…and with just two days warning, you would be amazed at the number of people who showed up. At the risk of sounding like a Dr. Seuss story: “They came with kabobs, they came with chips, they came with squirt guns, coolers, veggies and dips!”   My son and I felt very privileged to be the only “non-neighbors” invited, and I met my friend’s long-time neighbors as well as a family that just re-located from California. It was awesome.

A Fourth of July BBQ for my neighborhood

Watching this event come together so quickly motivated me to try and pull a Fourth of July neighborhood barbecue together in my ‘hood.  I zapped out an email to my surrounding neighbors (for whom I had an email), and I knocked on a door and personally invited a new neighbor (for whom I didn’t have an email or phone number).   Several neighbors have already confirmed and I’m looking forward to a great day.

How about you?  It’s not too late. If my friend can pull a neighborhood party together in two days – on a week night, no less – there’s still plenty of time to blast out emails or whip together a flyer for your neighbors, inviting them to gather one afternoon this weekend.

Usually there’s a 50% chance of rain in Seattle on the Fourth of July.  It falls under the same cosmic phenomena as Boating Day in Seattle.  Regardless of the 80 degree weather we enjoy the week prior, it almost always rains on Boating Day in Seattle.  [You did see that coming this year didn’t you?] 

However, this year Jeff Renner, Steve Pool AND Sam Argier said it’s going to be sunny on the Fourth.  And on the 5th.  And on the 6th. That means we’ve got three days to hit pay dirt with good weather for a barbecue.  Are you up for a Fourth of July party designed to meet a new neighbor or two?

Remember the original goal:  to declare war on the Seattle Freeze, to share ideas, stories, tips and gathering opportunities to start a new reputation in Seattle, one of friendliness and connection versus a cold shoulder.  This holiday weekend is a great opportunity to strengthen our ‘inviting skills’ as we seek to do a better job of getting to know our neighbors.


Will you send to me a photo? (With your guests’ permission of course). No names, just a photo and let me know what neighborhood you’re representing.  Let’s share our stories of neighborhood fun and connection.  I’ll post up your shared photos over the weekend.

Happy Fourth!


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One Response to Ye Olde Neighborhood Fourth of July BBQ

  1. Debbie says:

    Becky, my family always had a big family picnic on the long weekend in Ontario in August and then we lost some of our family members that were just the center of the party and we didn’t do it for at least two years. My youngest sister decided that it was time to get together again and we only had the five of us that were left and that was the last picture that we have as my brother Tom who is 3 years older than me had his last picture with us as he passed away the following February. We have yet to get back together as a family for this annual picnic and after reading your blog I am going to suggest to my sisters and brother that are left that this is the year as we may never know what next year will bring. Thanks for sharing your blog, I am loving reading your experiences.

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