Every year my street hosts a block party and it’s always one of my highlights of the summer.
This year felt a little different because the expected heat meant we decided to do it on our block and not the one south of here. Our section of the street affords the most shade so starting at 5 pm yesterday we closed down the block with wood barricades and everyone started to bring tables, chairs, tablecloths and dishes out to share.
People from up and down our 4 block long section of the street were all invited with a mailbox invite, and although quite a few people were out of town, we had a good sized showing.
Almost all our houses on our block were built between 1911-1915, and many sport similar layouts, grand porches and front lawns.
A neighbor brought out a photo of her house taken almost a century ago.
With these stately homes and canopy of trees our block is really so lovely, especially last night when almost all of the cars were moved into driveways, giving all the younger kids free space to ride bikes, scooters, play basketball and other games.
At times like this I love talking to some of my older neighbors like Louanne who’s lived on this block for I think forty years. She proudly sported a t-shirt that was made for neighbors some 30-odd years ago.
This year was the perfect showing of people with young and old alike rubbing shoulders; in the past year a few new families have moved onto our street so it was fun meeting them and seeing the next generation mingle.
My friend Elizabeth brought out an old rug for the youngest ones and they played on that while we all sat around and drank wine and ate.
These two babies had never met but the little seersucker darling took to the tow-headed fella and couldn’t keep her hands off of him.
Kids played all kinds of games, even daring to put down treasured cards and devices.
The weather was idyllic and the mood was relaxed and everyone was so generous with their offerings.
There are some avid cooks and wine lovers on our street so there was much to tempt amidst the 20 foot long buffet table.
French Roses and Pinots and a number of Oregon Pinot Gris graced the table and someone brought San Pellegrino sodas for all the kids.
And the food? Delicious!
I made a couple sheet pans of homemade pizza (burrata, fresh mozzarella and Italian salami or pepperoni).
So bubbly and crispy — and I just cut it into manageable squares.
I also made a couple dozen Brown Butter Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats.
Dennis is a neighbor who originally created the Voodoo Donut artwork so he gets free donuts for life and now no neighborhood gathering is complete without that signature pink box.
My friend Gillian (who also organized the party) made a spectacular chicken dish with lemon
complete with a homemade raita sauce on the side.
This was just one of the many wonderful offerings left to sample.
So many inventive salads and seafood (including killer ceviche and a prawn salad) and more.
I didn’t get around to the fried chicken but someone told me it was incredible, too.
Not to worry, though — I had plenty of options still available.
So thanks to all who came out and helped set up, brought flowers for all the tables
or spent hours making delicious food or grilled during the party.
Thanks too for the fact that everyone chipped in at the end to completely put away everything so the fireworks could be set off for round two of the party.
Portland is such a wonderful place for this kind of thing. Not only are the streets so beautiful and open
but the city asks that you get a permit for this kind of temporary street closure but turns a blind eye to those who forget or neglect to get them in time. At this time of the year block parties sprout up all over the city and I’ve never heard of any being shut down for lack of proper permits or notice.
Closing off the street is so much fun and gives you such a wonderful chance to connect both with the beautiful weather and one another.
I love this picture Gillian took as the party started to wind down.
And lastly, look at this view outside my front door this lazy morning after the party.
And so, a salute to these grand old beauties which we are all so lucky to inhabit.
You bring such joy to us all.