Top 10 Unusual National Night Out Party Ideas

Why fire up the barbecue when you could do a whole pig instead?

For a lot of Southwest Minneapolis' blocks, National Night Out is usually an excuse to park lawn chairs and barbecues in the street and enjoy a lovely August evening with neighbors. Those block parties are certainly great fun, but a few of the 1,360 block parties to be held in Minneapolis on Tuesday will really be taking their events to the next level:

Vintage Car Rides - The 4700 block of Drew Avenue South will get to enjoy rides in a vintage car, thanks to one neighbor's hobby. Of course, they'll have the traditional potluck and street games, too.

Want to find out if your block, or blocks near you are having a National Night Out event? Check the official list of Minneapolis NNO bock parties.

Hog Roast - Talk about throwing some pig on the barbie! The 5100 block of Upton Avenue South will be going the whole hog with their barbecue, with the tunes of a live band wailing in the background.

Book Exchange - Who said exciting NNO block parties had to be loud and crazy? The folks on the 6100 block of Morgan Court will be doing a book exchange as part of their evening.

Political Speakers - The residents of the 3100 block of Girard Avenue South evidently don't believe in that sage advice cautioning against politics, sex, and religion at the dinner table. They'll get to hear unspecified "political speakers" at their block party, along with a live show by the band Cast-Iron Cats.

30-Year Tradition - The 4000 block of Harriet Avenue South has apparently been doing NNO block parties before there even was an NNO—they'll be signing "The Official 4000 Harriet Tablecloth" at their event for the 30-somethingth year in a row. Minneapolis' first NNO block parties were held 29 years ago, this year.

Neighbor Bingo - Details on the official register of 2012 NNO parties are scarce, but the 4000 block of York Avenue South's plan for a "neighbor bingo mixer" conjures up images of everything from county fairs to personal secret-spilling—sure to be fun, either way!

Art Show - In what appears to be the only block party of its kind, the folks on the 100 block of 33rd Street West will be showing off their art to each other.

Foodie Fun-Fest - With food demos and a farmers market planned, the folks on the 4600 block of Aldrich Avenue South are going all-out. No wonder they expect 300 people to show up!

Olympics - The good people of the 1300 block of Minnehaha Avenue South are planning an Olympics-themed party, possibly including a live broadcast of the games itself. No word yet on whether a surrogate has been picked for either North or South Korea in the "best neighbor" event.

Silent Movies - Alongside a potluck, volleyball and balloon toss games, a scavenger hunt, and a book swap (and maybe a kitchen sink), the residents of the 4700 block of Stevens Avenue South will be treating themselves to silent movies.


Honorable Mentions From Elsewhere in the City

While they're not in Southwest Minneapolis, here are a few highlights of the city-wide list of National Night Out block parties:

  • Kid's Talent Show on the 2800 block of 42nd Avenue South
  • A Paella Party on the 2900 block of 46th Avenue South
  • An "inspirational" gospel choir on the 2600 block of 38rd Street East
  • A food shelf drive on the 5400 block of 14th Avenue South
  • Classical music performances in the alley behind the 2700 block of Blaisdell Avenue South.
  • And, of course, the flagship, 3,000-person event on West River Parkway in Downtown Minneapolis, with live music, Mayor RT Rybak, and Minneapolis Police Department horses.


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