NNO recap & Tips for hosting a community BBQ

Did you do anything for “National Night Out” on Tuesday? My household hosted a neighborhood BBQ and it was a profound success. We had a fantastic crowd, and it was nice to have visits from four council members, an Alyson Huber representative and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli too. But most importantly, neighbors were connecting and we really had a good time. I’m so thankful to residents who worked to pull things together last-minute to make this happen. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by good friends in my community.

What makes a neighborhood great? In my opinion, it’s not about big houses or price level per se, but rather a sense of community and connectedness. That’s priceless.

Quick Tips for Hosting a Community BBQ:

  1. Do the BBQ in the front yard.
  2. Ask a few neighbors to do the BBQ with you. Get people on board first before you start publicizing.
  3. Make it your goal to connect with others and simply invite residents into that vision. People like it when they smell authenticity rather than an agenda. On a related note, if you want to see change in your neighborhood, keep the tone positive rather than negative. A positive vision is attractive, but complaining doesn’t work to muster the troops.
  4. Go potluck style. It’s easier that way and more powerful when everyone has something to share and donate.
  5. Knock on doors to pass out flyers. Invite people personally and they’ll have a greater chance of responding. In my experience, 400 flyers placed on doorsteps has far less impact than knocking on 30 doors.
  6. Provide opportunities for neighbors to help with details like canopies, grills, drinks or any other component. Remember too that you don’t have to pull off the ultimate block party with bounce houses and pony rides. Think simple.
  7. Invite council members or the police department to show up and give them a minute to talk with residents.
  8. No guilt or shame if people cannot make it – only grace and goodwill. Nobody likes to eat a guilt sandwich.
  9. If you have an action step, let people know. Maybe there is a neighborhood meeting coming up that people could sign up for. Or maybe you are putting together a phone tree, neighborhood email list or e-Group that would be perfect to help propel the community forward. You don’t need an action step of course, but if you have something, bring it.   
  10. Thank people for their contributions and recognize the work of others to pull off the event – whether big or small.

Do you have any tips to add? What do you think makes a neighborhood great? I’d love to hear your comments and stories.

If you have any questions, or real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact Lundquist Appraisal by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook or subscribe to posts by email.


  1. says

    Nice list Ryan. I would like to add that NNO is an outstanding time to ask local businesses to contribute in some manner. We use their gift cards as game prizes.

    This really motivates people to participate in ice breakers, melon eating, and other contests.

    If there are a lot of rentals in the neighborhood, then ask landlords to contribute financially. We invest landlord donations into local small businesses to leverage our funds. We try to get $4 of product for every $1 donated.

    • says

      Hi Al. I’m really glad you mentioned that. Small businesses do love to be involved and prizes are a fantastic way to break the ice (and get people to come). Very well said. Thank you much.


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