Organize a Special Event for Your Neighborhood
Long Beach residents have organized their neighborhoods to fight crime, reduce graffiti, and plant trees. From these experiences, residents have learned that collective efforts on neighborhood issues result in positive change; the neighborhood improvement and the community pride is restored.
The organization of a special event for your neighborhood promotes personal interaction, drawing a great diversity of people with the common goal of working together, to preserve and improve their neighborhoods. Organizing a special event is a fun way to provide social interaction which bonds neighborhoods together by developing friendships and neighborhood spirit. Ultimately, this promotes the provision of mutual aid and support to neighbors in times of need.
This information was developed by the City of Long Beach Development Services Department. Its purpose is to help neighborhood groups organize special events.
Deciding on the Event
To get started, think of the following:
- What do you want to accomplish by hosting a special event?
- What type of event will accomplish this goal?
Examples of events include:
- an arts and cultural event
- block party / street fair
- community forum
- guest speaker or panel
- home and garden tour
- neighborhood clean-up
- neighborhood garage / yard sale
- pancake breakfast/ice cream social
Deciding Who Should Participate
As an organizer, reach out and be sensitive to the concerns of your neighbors. Neighborhoods in Long Beach are composed of diverse ethnic and economic groups. Communication with all your neighbors about an event not only builds additional insight into organizing the event, but also promotes integration and camaraderie in your community.
The City of Long Beach Development Services Department publishes an annual Directory of Neighborhood Organizations. This resource lists other neighborhood organizations which may be interested in participating in your event. You can obtain a copy of the directory from a Planner.
You may want to have special participants such as governmental leaders, motivational speakers, or entertainers. Special participants that appeal to neighborhood interest will be an incentive for event participation.
Choosing a Location, Date & Time
Choose a location that best suits your event and audience. Suggestions include: private homes, parks, schools, libraries, and meeting halls.
Rooms are available without fee at public schools. To reserve a classroom or meeting room in a public school, contact the LBUSD Office of Community Use of School Facilities at (562) 997-8000. Rooms should be reserved at least 30 days in advance. Schools are available for reservation only on school nights. Rooms are not available during student free days, and winter, spring, and summer recesses.
Meeting rooms are also available to community groups at the Main Library and branch libraries. These rooms are only available during the library's regular hours. Contact the Library Facilities Coordinator at (562) 570-6291 for an application form and detailed information.
If you decide to host your event at a city park or recreation center, these facilities must be reserved at least 10 working days before the event. If the event is large, like a neighborhood carnival, the city must be informed at least 30 days prior to the event. A business license is required for the company providing carnival games and rides. Contact the Business License Section at (562) 570-6211.
Reservations at city parks and recreation centers are on a first come, first serve basis. Recreation centers are available for established neighborhood groups for an hourly fee, plus a refundable deposit. If the event is open to the public, liability insurance is required though the City. For more information, contact the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine at (562) 570-3111.
To use a public street for a block party or street fair, it is necessary to obtain a permit for temporary street closing. For further details, please refer to the Block Party/Street Fair section.
Communications with fellow neighbors, neighborhood leaders, and planners will help establish a date and time for your event. This communication will reduce the likelihood of conflicting events. Organizing a special event with careful planning and plenty of time will increase the chances of a successful event.
Setting a Budget
It is important to set a budget before your event occurs.
The budget should include:
- estimated attendance
- cost on decorations
- mailing expenses
- press releases
- transportation, etc.
In addition to the resources needed for the event, organizing a special event should also consider potential fundraising ideas.
Most events are financially supported by sponsorship. Talking to local business leaders about your event's purpose may persuade them to contribute. For instance, underwriting and advertisements on event programs may be exchanged for the donation of event supplies or money.
Funding for certain events, such as tree plantings and art mural programs, may be available through government grants and non-profit sources. For more information, contact the Neighborhood Resource Center at (562) 570-1010.
Publicizing the Event
To ensure a successful event, inform neighborhood residents about the date, time, location, and nature of the event. Other information that should be included are event highlights, such as a guest speaker or entertainer, and any other information that can attract outside interest. Information about your event should be publicized at least 1-2 weeks ahead of time.
Invitations and flyers may be appropriate depending on the nature of the event. Hand-delivering flyers is the most effective method of spreading news of the event. This method is a great way to meet residents and inform them about the purpose of the event. Taking time to inform neighbors of the event may convince them to participate, organize, or even sponsor the occasion.
Other ways to publicize the event may be to notify newspaper, radio, and television stations. If your event is large, try to contact a television station.
Use a press release to notify the media.
Press releases must be addressed to the assignment editor and should include the following:
- nature of the event
- purpose of the event
- date, time, and location
- who should attend
Press releases should be submitted at least 2 weeks before the event. Your press release should include your name and phone number so that an editor may contact you for further information. Make your press release exciting and inviting. A sample press release is shown below.
You may want to send a press release to the following publications:
5225 E. 2nd Street
Long Beach, CA 90803
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Long Beach Business Journal
2599 E. 28th St., Suite 212
Signal Hill, CA 90755
FAX (562) 988-1239
727 Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90844
Long Beach Post
444 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 150
Long Beach, CA 90802
SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
Contact: John Smith - Address (omit if letterhead)
COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING PROJECT IN CITY HEIGHTS
Local residents of City Heights will put their green thumbs to work on Saturday, February 20 by adding 500 new trees to their Long Beach neighborhood.
Residents will unite to plant street trees along the 900 and 1000 blocks of Pine, Junipero, and Temple Avenues. "We have been working along with city officials to plan a continually blooming canopy that will shade and beautify our neighborhood." stated Brain Haworth, president of the City Heights Neighborhood Association.
In the past 6 months, the culturally diverse neighborhood of City Heights has collectively organized to fight crime, gangs, graffiti, and slum lords. Their efforts have been successful; crime has been decreased, weeds have been removed from abandoned lots, and graffiti is no longer a problem. Neighborhood residents and city officials hope that the tree planting event will continue to foster neighborhood spirit and increase local property values.
Participation is needed to make this tree planting event a success. Anyone interested may contact Brian Haworth at (562) 555-1234. The event will take place February 20, 8 a.m., at Green Acres Park, 2800 Main Street.
Keep in mind that it may be necessary to have some information translated into languages spoken by residents in your neighborhood. For information about translation services, contact the Francheska Deras at LanguageAccess@longbeach.gov or (562) 570-7177.
Arts & Cultural Events
Organizing an event in your neighborhood is an excellent way to bring people together to celebrate the many cultural traditions of Long Beach. Cultural events, such as dance performances and storytelling, can promote cultural awareness and understanding.
The Arts Council for Long Beach is a non-profit arts council for the City of Long Beach. It is the central organization connecting the community to the arts. The Arts Council ensures the community access to a wide range of artistic resources that represent the community. Programs and services include grant funding, co-operative marketing, art management training, career development workshops and training, and the sponsorship of October is Arts month, a citywide celebration of arts and culture in Long Beach. For more information about services provided by the Arts Council for Long Beach, call (562) 432-5100.
The City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine also offers assistance in organizing and implementing community art programs. These art programs include dance celebrations and mural projects. Some areas of Long Beach may qualify for special grants to bring art into the community. For more information, call Homeland / Art Services at (562) 570-1655.
Arts & Block Party/Street Fair
To host a block party or street fair, please contact Long Beach Special Events and Filming at (562) 570.5333 or www.filmlongbeach.com.
Hosting a community forum is an excellent way to find out what your neighbors think, such as their concerns and ideas for improving your neighborhood. A community forum can assemble residents to prioritize neighborhood concerns, devise an action plan, and form working committees.
An action plan involves intensive thinking about what neighborhood issues should be tackled and implemented. This process involves identifying the most extensive and pressing issues that can be easily resolved. The resolution of smaller issues establishes confidence and organizational structure as larger issues are dealt with. It is important to focus on issues that affect or concern neighbors. After the first meeting, neighborhood residents may form working committees that focus on particular volunteer tasks and activities.
A successful forum is one that is open to all neighbors and gives them opportunities for meaningful participation in neighborhood improvement projects. For detailed information on hosting a community forum, obtain the Neighborhood Organization Guide published by the City of Long Beach Development Services Department.
Home & Garden Tour
Hosting a home and garden tour in your neighborhood can restore neighborhood pride through the celebration of a special holiday or the commemoration of your neighborhood's unique character. With cooperation from neighbors, perhaps on one street, you can organize homes for other community members to tour.
A successful group which has organized home and garden tours in Long Beach is the Willmore City Heritage Association. They have used themes such as special Christmas decorations to add interest to homes. For more information on organizing a home and garden tour, contact:
Willmore City Heritage Association
P.O. Box 688
Long Beach, CA 90801
This type of event involves scouting out an area that is in dire need of improvement. This may be a wall covered with graffiti, an abandoned lot with overgrown weeds, or an alley cluttered with discarded trash and furniture. Supplies (i.e. paint, brushes, gloves, rakes, brooms, trash bags, and dumpsters) are provided under the City's Neighborhood Clean-Up Assistance Program. Contact the Neighborhood Services Bureau at least 2 weeks prior to your event to request supplies.
For detailed information about the Neighborhood Clean-Up Assistance Program, contact the Neighborhood Services Bureau at (562) 570-6866.
Neighborhood Garage/Yard Sale
Organizing a collective garage or yard sale with other neighbors on your block can be a fun way to promote personal interaction while raising money for your neighborhood association.
Garage and yard sales require a permit in Long Beach. You can apply for a permit by submitting a list of all the names and addresses of the participants to the City of Long Beach Business License Section. No more than 2 garage sales and/or yard sales per year are permitted. Each requires a $10 fee. Contact the Business Licensing Section at (562) 570-6211 for more information.
Pancake Breakfast/Ice Cream Social
If food is being sold on public property, you need to obtain a temporary food permit from the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services at 2525 Grand Avenue, Room 318.
The application must include:
- a drawing and description of the stand
- food and beverages to be sold
- cooking equipment
- cooking and preparation methods
- general layout of the equipment stand
A fee is charged for each permit. To confirm requirements for this type of event, contact the Department of Health and Human Services at (562) 570-4000.
Local businesses may donate food for special events if they know your event is for a good cause. It is helpful to bring a flyer stating your event's objective when requesting a donation.
Further Questions or Additional Information
If you have any questions or need additional information, contact the Long Beach Special Events and Filming at (562) 570.5333 or www.filmlongbeach.com, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Organizing a special event for your neighborhood may not be an easy task, but hopefully this guide can make your efforts easier and more productive. Good luck on your event!
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