Friday, August 8, 2008

Neighbourhood Hippiefest

Last Saturday we held our annual street sale and party. We've been doing this every summer (except one) since 1992. I got the idea from an issue of Canadian Living Magazine promoting Canada's 125th birthday. Our country has aged another 16 years since then and so this would have marked our 15th year of blocking off the street and partying into the night. Each year we select a theme for our party. Past years' ideas included Summer Olympics, Hawaiian Luau and last summer's Mardi Gras. This year's theme was the 1960's

We always start the day with a street sale. Interested neighbours haul out their junk treasures, and inevitably, a few kidlets start up a lemonade stand. Children invade their piggy banks and promptly dash around from house to house, buying up the biggest, ugliest stuffed animals and other eye-sores which previous owners are all to happy to unload. The same items will be out there next year, on a table in their own driveway.

Over the years, we've been very lucky with weather. This year was no exception. The predicted rain showers held off until shortly after noon, when everyone was pretty much ready to pack it in anyway. And then it poured. It rained heavily for about fifteen minutes and it began to look as if the afternoon activities would be rained out. But the sun gods were with us. As suddenly as they rolled in, the clouds moved on to cleanse a different part of the city, and the strong afternoon sunshine quickly dried the streets in time for chalk drawings.

Sidewalk art kicks off the afternoon activities for the kids.

Face Painting was more simple than usual this year. We hid the books that offer complicated, time-consuming designs and stuck with symbols which represent the 60's such as peace signs, flowers and butterflies.

Most of the adults walked away sporting a bit of art too.

While some faces got decorated, others looked toward the craft table. In keeping with this year's theme, the kids tried their hands at tie-dye They had the option of traditional long head scarfs or triangular bandannas. Jo and Sandra did a great job of organizing this activity.

First they drew designs on the material of choice.

Then they tied them in several places.

After treating them with dye, the elastics and ties came off.

And the pieces were hung to dry.

See how well they turned out ?

Even my metal head son became a hippie that day.

Once everyone had completed the crafts, it was time for a treasure hunt. I had written up a series of clues, each of which led to the next, and had the kids running around to various houses on our street. The kids were to work as a team and help each other. There was enough treasure for everyone. The final clue was a poem which read like this:

This treasure isn't buried
You will not need to dig
It isn't very tiny
But it isn't really big

There's enough of it for sharing
There's some for everyone
Read this very carefully
Your work is almost done

First go to the green box
Where you found one of the clues
Everyone together
This is what you do

Starting very slowly
Count to thirty-three
Jump up and down and shout
Then go and hug the tree

Move 3 homes towards the dead end
Then get down on the ground
Now do a somersault or two
While you make a squawking sound

Now put your shirts on backwards
For everyone to see
You really have to do these things
Or you will not get "The Key"

Cross the street together
Hopping like a bunny
All the while laughing LOUDLY
Like you just heard something funny

Wander up the sidewalk
Towards the corner of the block
This time moving backwards
Don't run now, just walk

When you get out to the corner
Here's what you must do
Sneeze your very loudest
let's hear it now...

Make your way back carefully
Take a look around
Each one of you must find a stone
That's lying on the ground

When everyone has found a stone
Bring them all to me
You will see me waiting
With the treasure and the key

You wont have trouble finding me
I'll be out in plain view
Whoever gives a stone to me
The treasure goes to YOU!

The chest was filled with these goodies.

Jo collected the stones and handed out the goodie bags. Her son Tyler checked to make sure she didn't forget any.

Guessing games were next. Everyone who was interested took a guess at each one of the jars which were filled with various candies. I had pre-counted them all and knew what each jar contained. Toward the end of the evening we determined the winners.

Here's Mario making his guesses.

Ryan didn't want to participate at first but turned out to be the best estimator of the bunch. He walked away with two winning jars of candy.

Soon, our pot luck dinner was served and everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal.

Erin baked this incredible cake for dessert - perfect for the occasion.

It looked great and it was delicious!

Winston (who you might remember from this post) and Frank were the youngest and oldest dressed-up hippies present.

And what can we say about Lloyd? Far out, man!

Di organized a cash draw which yielded three prizes of $120, $60 and $30.

Her little helper called out the winning numbers.

One of those numbers belonged to Kevin!

And there was music. Riley joined Alex and his friend Dave to played guitar.

Frank and I were pretty much done by midnight. We turned in with a relaxing cup of tea. I hear that others partied on until 4 a.m. in true neighbourhood style. Perhaps we're just getting too old. After all, we were both born before the 60's!

You can see these and many more street party images in somewhat random order when you watch this slideshow.


Daryl said...

COOL! Far Out! and all those other clever vuzz words/expressions

It looks like a truly fun time was had by all .... and you ... what a great job you did organizing and photographing ...


Leah J. Utas said...

Groovy, man.
Wonderful images. It looked like a fun time.
Outta sight!

Louise said...

That's some groovy party. I would have been tired, too. But I know everyone HAD to have a good time and appreciated all you did for it.

Thanks for inviting us to see it!

the Bag Lady said...

Far out. Groovy. Looks like a BLAST!

Thanks for allowing us to attend.

But...but...where are the pictures of Hilary?

(Oh, and Alex looked very authentic with his long hair and bandanna!)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Kewl, Man, Kewl! What a party! You must have great neighbors; I already know that *they* do! Seems like everyone was having a wonderful time, kids *and* adults. Your treasure hunt poem was amazing, written to get all the children involved and to engage in some physical activity. Very clever and well done. The photos were excellent, as usual. Have you considered putting together a Block Party photo album so that the attendees can oooh and aaaah and say "that's me!"?

Suldog said...

Damn! That looks like tremendously good fun! Thanks for sharing the shots.

Our neighborhood is nowhere near that close-knit or friendly enough to get something like that together. Our neighbors aren't our enemies, but I can't imagine anything like this happening.

By the way, I was a metalhead hippie, back in the day, so they are NOT mutually exclusive :-)

Kerri Farley said...

That looks like SO MUCH FUN!! I Love your treasure hunt poem! FAbulous!

Kat said...

What an absolutely fabulous neighborhood you live in. And what great neighbors! Wow! So fun!

SandraRee said...

Hilary, what fun! Wished I lived in your neighborhood! You must be very energetic to put something like this together every summer. Thank you for sharing the love! :D

Anonymous said...

This sounds like sooo much fun! And, your poem is just darling. I have a feeling you must be the "spark" that makes this event so much fun.

Stace said...

Sounds like awesome fun. Also, your son is hot.

Shammickite said...

Cool and groovy, man! Flower Power and Peace to you! I dig it the most!!
Please can I come and live on your street.
It's so much more fun than mine!

Munchkins and Music said...

Looks like you had a great time!

Jerry in Tampa said...

Hilary - This was AWESOME!!!! Love the images and the poetry - I felt like I was there!!!! Thanks for sharing a SUPER time!

I'm glad I found you and I will be back...

Jerry in Tampa

Daisy said...

What a wonderful time that looked to be. I don't know where you find the energy!

Anonymous said...

I love the pics.
she types looking at her tiedyed sleepshirt.

Im a deadhead at the core...

Hilary said...

• Thanks Daryl. It was a wonderful group effort and always a fun time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Leah. It truly was far out! :)

• Thanks for virtually joining us, Louise. I appreciate everyone else's efforts too. I sure wasn't alone planning it. Thanks for stopping by.

• Thanks, Baggie. Yes, my son is one cool guy, and his mother was behind the camera and doesn't do self-portraits. ;)

• Thanks for your kind words, Pat. We sure do have a great neighbourhood. I figure that *this* is my photo album for all of them to see. There were others who had cameras present too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Sully. Our neighbourhood has evolved over the years. There are very few around who also attended the earliest parties. I think the group we have now are about the best ever. We're VERY lucky to have many neighbours we consider friends. And you're right of course about metalhead hippies. I was just kind of pleased to see my kidlet adopt the decade. :)

• Thanks so much, Kerri. It absolutely was. :)

• Thanks, Kathryn. You're absolutely right about my neighbours. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Sandra but I sure don't do it alone. We were a small team of people each planning our own part. Everyone contributes to the fun. :)

• Thanks Addhumorandfaith, but I can't take the credit for that. It's truly a group effort. :)

• Thanks, Stace. I told Alex what you said. He blushed in a tie-dye pattern. ;)

• You'd probably fit right in, Shammy - seeing as you know the lingo and all. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• We did indeed, Munchkins and Music. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, Jerry and thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks, Daisy. I'm still recovering. ;)

• Far out, Mizfit! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Russell said...

Wonderful! Congratulations on such a good day!! I can tell you spent a LOT of work preparing for this day and it sure payed off! I am more than a little impressed!! Understatement...!

My favorite image is the one of Ryan holding the two jars of candy. I really like that one. And I liked the fact you pointed out at first he did not want to participate and then...!

I also like the photos of your son - especially the one where he is playing the guitar at night with his friend and the small child. That is really special.

I can almost hear the music playing in the background as I scroll through these images! Congratulations again - and the poem you wrote for the hunt was so, so, so very good!!! Wow!

Shrinky said...

Fabulous post hilary, thank you for letting us join in on your street party (and your son is just too cute for words).

I loved the treasure hunt clues and instructions, did you dream that up all by yourself? Looks like there was fun for everyone there, whatever their age.

Jo said...

Oh, wow! What fun! You know the saying, "If you can remember the 60s, you weren't really there."

It looks as if you went to a lot of trouble for this, and it paid off. Everyone is having a fabulous time. It must be wonderful to live in a friendly neighbourhood like that.

Your son is adorable, by the way. :-)

Reb said...

Far out man! I think it is wonderful that you chose the 60's, as it is the 40th Anniversary of HAIR this year! Your son would fit right in in that musical ;)

Love the poem and the pictures make it all so real and fun for us.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Now THAT. THAT is a party. I have to tell you, from here, that looks like one awesome neighborhood Hilary!

Anonymous said...

What absolute great fun for a neighborhood. Good for you! And for it to continue for so long...speaks for itself. :)
The Bach

Melinda said...

Hmmm. I posted a comment here awhile ago (or so I thought), but i guess Blogger ate it! Can't remember exactly what it was, but it basically repeats the same things everybody else said - looked like a fantastic time & just loved the pictures!

I wanted to stop by and tell you that you've been tagged! (sorry if you hate memes)
The rules are pretty simple:
1. Write 7 interesting or random facts about yourself.
2. Tag 7 people you want to learn more about.
3. Post a comment on their blogs to let them know.

Have fun!

photowannabe said...

Totally gnarly man...What a wonderful neighborhood you have Hilary. I would have loved your party too. And yes I was born way before the 60's.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, what a groovy idea for a celebration! I still feel nostalgic for that time, though I was born just a few years too late to get to fully participate.

Let's bring back love ins and tie die and pot!

(Said the gal WITHOUT kids).

It's interesting too, that everyone made fun of hippies, and it turns out they were RIGHT about so many things it took decades for others to get--like the importance of wholesome natural foods and ecology and conservation etc... glad to see you folks reviving the fashions, too!

Dianne said...

what a great pictorial story! I loved all the photos, the 60s were a fun time and much of my head is still there ;)

the cake is amazing!

your hood is so lucky to have a resident photo-journalist :)

RiverPoet said...

Hilary, that looks like it was a blast! When I was 18, a handful of us protested the prom (which was all disco music and was expensive as anything). We got together at the home of my best friend's older boyfriend and had a 60s party. We closed out the evening with my boyfriend and I singing Led Zeppelin songs to acoustic guitar. :-)

Great memories!

Peace - D

Indrani said...

Whoa! What a party! We have similar celebrations where streets are blocked to hold mini fairs and programs, those usually coincide with festivals. Great post Hilary and fine poem for the treasure hunt too.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great idea. Thanks for the details. we may have to steal the idea over here :)!

david mcmahon said...

You DID save a piece (peace!) of that amazing cake for me, didn't ya?

Hilary said...

* Thanks so much for all of your ultra-kind words Russell. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about the day. :)

* Thanks so much, Shrinky. The treasure hunt was something I came up with a number of years ago when my own kidlets were still pretty young. I kind of reworked the clues in order to reflect our current neighbourhood families, since many of the clues were found at different homes. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

* Thanks for the kind words, Jo. Yes, our neighbours are top-notch... kind of like the sixties themselves. ;)

* Thanks, Reb. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I didn't know that about Hair. My son does sort of look like he could have walked right out on that stage. :)

Oh, give me down to there hair...

* There's nothing wrong with your perception, Mamageek. It is indeed an awesome neighbourhood. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Bach. I sure hope it continues on for many more years too. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Melinda. I appreciate your visit and kind words. I'm not in the habit of following memes, though so I'm going pass on doing this one too. Thanks for stopping by, and I sure hope that Blogger doesn't make a habit of eating your comments! :)

* Thanks, Photowannabe. It truly is a great neighbourhood. Thanks for joining us.. if only virtually. ;)

* Thanks, Crabby. Many of us *with* kids have no objection to your chant! ;) Very true observations about the youth of the 60's. They were ahead of their time. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks for the kind words, Dianne. That cake was delicious too, by the way. :)

* Thanks, Riverpoet. It sounds like you have a wonderful (Blog-worthy!!) memory attached to that night... Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks for the visit, Indrani. That's so cool that you have similar events in your corner of the world too! :)

* Thanks, Amy. Feel free to steal all you like, but be sure to let us know how it goes. :)

* David, of course we did! Yours is the piece with the pink peace sign. How does it compare to Tim Tams? ;)

steviewren said...

Hilary, you have a grooveilichous neighborhood. I would be happy to live in your far out commune man! Flower power forever!

Anonymous said...

You live in such a far out and groovy neighborhood! What fun!

Cath said...

What a party! Groovy! (I STILL say "groovy!" lol)

You really did put a lot of work into that - you and your neighbours. And you put a lot of work into this post.

That is a handsome young man you have as a son! Lovely to see your neighbourhood and some of your neighbours. Loved your poem. We do those sorts of hunts with the children for them to work for their presents. It's great fun.

Kappa no He said...

Where did Frank dig up the Hendrix shirt? I love it! And Dave Mustaine would be proud of your son's hippy headband and his seranading the wee ones. (He'll know who I'm talking about.)

That's it. If there's ever an opening in your neighborhood, I'm moving in!

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

so cool!!!! i am moving to your neck of woods ;DDDDD

Tink said...

That's awesome!!!

Maybe, once we're not working on the house or the wedding, Hoop and I can plan something like that for our neighborhood.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Steviewren, I'm sure you'd add a ton of fun to our neighbourhood. :)

• Thanks for stopping by, Susan! :)

• Thank you, Cath. I don't think I've ever used the word "Groovy." ;) I'm glad to hear that you do similar treasure hunts with the kidlets. It can be a blast! Thanks for all of your kind words. :)

• Kappa, I'll let you know when the next "for sale" sign goes up!
Frank found his Hendrix shirt at a mall near his house. I found a Peace symbol tee for myself.
Even Alex's Mom knows who Dave Mustaine is! (because I hear about him all the time!). Alex has met him at one or two of the concerts he's attended. Two of the Megadeth members (Glen Drover (ex-member now, I think.. and Shawn) are the uncles of my son's close friend. Their names are household words around here! Thanks for stopping by, Terrie. :)

• Thanks, Moi. Good to see you in blogland again! :)

• That sounds like a great idea, Tink. It's amazing how it helps bring neighbours together. Why not have a party sooner than that.. maybe you'll find that neighbours are willing to help with your house! ;) Thanks always for stopping by. :)

Mental P Mama said...

Groovy is the best word. Ever. I wish we had something like this. Far out!

Hilary said...

• Thanks, MPM. Start one on your street! :)

XUE said...

how wonderful!!! wish we hv block parties like yours! I love garage sales & flea markts - somewhere in arizona, we made an unscheduled stop at one by the road & I bought 8 mystery books & a 500 piece puzzle at 25cents each - I was soooo happy!!!

Hilary said...

Thanks, Xue. I understand your excitement. Yard/garage sales are the best places to buy books. And we've been known to pick up some jigsaw puzzles for a steal too. It's a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. And much less exhausting than hosting one. Thanks for stopping by. :)