Last Saturday was the Neighborhood BBQ that we put together for our neighborhood of Greenhaven – in Northeastern Colorado Springs.
We all had such a blast, with a turnout of over 60 people! In addition to the neighbors, we also invited a few of our past clients and friends.
At 11am, we started hauling our grill and supplies over to the park, with the help of a couple of our neighborhood friends. As people started arriving at Noon, we fired up the grill and Derek (the chef and grill-master) started BBQ-ing hotdogs, hamburgers, brats and chicken. Each person brought a side dish, so we had plenty of chips, pasta and leafy salads, desserts and such.
We supplied name stickers and pens – which made it easier to get to know everyone. Everyone who brought Diet Coke, was instructed to leave it on the picnic table in the sun, as WARM Diet Coke shoots much higher in the air than cold Diet Coke. (I learned this through an experiment I did the evening before, in the park with the neighborhood kids.)
We first got all the kids together (there were more kids than adults) and did a water relay. We split the kids into 2 relatively equal teams and had them dunk a sponge into a bucket of water, run across the field to another bucket and wring the water into the bucket. The first team to fill the bucket was the winner. Every kid who played received a raffle ticket. The winning team each received 2 tickets.
From there, the kids ran to the playground and the grassy areas playing with the balls and Frisbees that were available.
The night before, I had filled a canister with M&M’s. I counted how many I had put in there. Yes. Brain damage … But worth it! After the water relay, I took the canister around to each person asking for their guess as to how many M&M’s were in there. I told them that the prize for the person who guessed the closest, was to take home all the M&M’s. Needless to say, there was a lot of competitive interest in this game. I loved watching all the different strategies people took to pick a number.
There were 728 M&M’s in the canister and the winner was the young lady who guessed 758. She was VERY excited! (So was her Mom …)
From here, I gathered all the folks who brought Diet Coke and sent them out into the field with a roll of Mentos. I explained the step-by-step process of opening the bottle, dropping in 3-4 Mentos and getting out of the way. Countdown … 3-2-1 … Explosions of Diet Coke went everywhere! Some as high as 20 feet into the air! All the kids – AND adults were in complete awe. “Wow! That was the coolest thing, ever!” I heard that many times over the course of the next couple hours.
After this, I handed out raffle tickets. After everyone had at least one (some of the kids had 2 or 3), I gathered everyone under the pavilion and started raffling off the balls that I had gotten for the kids to play with. I picked a couple volunteers from the crowd of children to be my assistants in drawing for prizes.
When I organized this, I directed people to the neighborhood blog that I created. On the blog, I asked for anyone who was self-employed/owned a small business to “sponsor” gifts for the raffle. First, we raffled off a Latte Cup that was brought by a neighbor who is a sales rep for Longaberger. I let her present the gift to the winner and explain her role with Longaberger. After the raffle a few more people approached me asking if they could sponsor gifts at our next BBQ. (That was what I was hoping for … Community Participation!) I gave away our sponsored $5-$10 gift cards to Starbucks, McDonalds and Jamba Juice. It was so cool to see so many excited people. People would come running up to collect their prizes like they were on the Price is Right!
Throughout the 2+ hours that we were there, everyone was talking, laughing and making new friends. I was able to talk with each person about where they lived, what they did and even talked a little bit about the neighborhood market. I knew every home that was for sale and how much it was going for – so that came in handy! I used the M&M contest to sit down and talk with each person – kids, too! As each person left, they thanked us for “such a great time!” and reminded us to PLEASE let them know when the next “event” was planned. I reminded them to check out the community website/blog for the pictures and details from the BBQ.
After we cleaned up and headed home, I checked my voice mails and emails to find 2 more additional messages from neighbors who were unable to attend.
One guy had a home-based business and wanted to help sponsor the next event, as well as help contribute to the next newsletter that we put together. (I had created and hand-delivered a one-page Community newsletter earlier last week.)
Another lady who ran her own business emailed me thanking me for the newsletter and asked if I would be interested in putting together a community garage sale with her in August. Of course I would! (We are working out the details this week …)
Over the past couple days I have gotten even MORE emails and phone calls. One email read:
“By the way, love the community connection you have created. We weren’t able to make it to the BBQ, but thing it is great what you are doing and are looking forward in participating in the future.”
The day was beautiful – the people were wonderful – and we made many friends.
We look forward to doing more of these community events in the future!
Posted by: Mariana Wagner – Colorado Springs Real Estate