Following the success of its first effort in June — in which more than 800 people participated — Wilton Youth Council’s Free Play Matters Task Force is planning another neighborhood block party weekend for Sept. 15-16.

The theme is “Building community one block at a time.” Each road or neighborhood may choose their own day and time.

“There are no hard and fast rules for the events, but people are encouraged to think simple and keep it ‘old-fashioned,’” a press release from the task force said.

“This initiative has a two-pronged goal. We hope to connect neighbors for face-to-face interaction and also create more opportunities for free play, since families will get to know one another,” task force member Vanessa Elias said. “After my block party, I took a moment to reflect on whether I felt differently and realized that I felt more ‘grounded’ and had a more positive connection to people on my road. Our egg toss created many laughs and treasured memories for kids and adults alike! Immediately after the party, our neighborhood kids were asking when the next one would be.”  

Many people posted photos and comments on the Wilton’s Big Block Party Weekend Facebook page to share their experiences.

"My thought was how wonderful our get-together was. Once upon a time, in the 80s, we were neighborly, with coffees and cocktail parties and plants for new arrivals. All my original neighbors have come and gone. With the block party, we rekindled that spirit Saturday night, and I remarked to my husband that I no longer felt anonymous. I can now name everyone on the street, including all the children. What a great idea!" posted Noel Konrad, a Downe Lane resident since 1982.

Block parties are convenient ways to meet and get to know neighbors, find playmates for children, and increase a sense of belonging in the community. They can provide the opportunity to create a neighborhood contact list.

To minimize the stress of planning a block party, the task force recommends a party captain recruit help and:


  • Decide on a date, time and location. Backyards and driveways are safe locations where traffic will not be affected.

  • Decide on the type of event, such as picnic, barbecue or potluck.

  • Establish boundaries to include approximately 20 to 30 houses.

  • Have a child create the flyer to put in mailboxes. Include contact information so people can volunteer to help or find out more details.

  • On Facebook, visit Wilton’s Big Block Party Weekend to share plans.


For more information or questions, email wiltonsbigblockpartyweekend@gmail.com or eliasvanessa5@gmail.com.

The mission of the Wilton Free Play Task Force is to inspire and educate the community about the critical importance of free play, and to encourage the creation of more free play and free range opportunities for children. The task force is focusing on three key areas of family/neighborhood, school and community. For more information, email the chairwoman, Colleen Fawcett, at Colleen.Fawcett@WiltonCT.org.