Want to make your neighborhood a little nicer and safer? Do like the neighbors on Cottonwood Drive in Cupertino do, and break out the hot dogs and Samosas.
Every summer the residents along the street gather together for an annual block party, a day of food, games, and friendly chatting. More than just a fun festivity, the popular event serves as a way to knit the neighbors together just a little tighter, and make the neighborhood just a little nicer all year long.
“It’s a good community project. The more you know your neighbors, the better for your street,” said Nanette Domitrowich, as she put the final touches on preparations for Cottonwood’s 2012 block party last month.
The yearly party started several years ago, helping to lift morale; since they began Domitrowich said neighbors say “hi” to one another a little more.
Her co-block leader, Sujit Roy, called the tradition a nice way for neighbors to catch up with one another, since normally, “We drive in our cars and we don’t get to see anybody.”
This year Domitrowich and her neighbor a few doors down, Lianne Hatcher, planned a 50s theme for the event; they played pop tunes from the era, added a few decorations, and Hatcher even donned 50s garb.
Like most Silicon Valley neighborhoods, Cottonwood is a mixture of long-time residents—some homeowners have lived there more than 50 years—and newer transplants from around the world.
That diversity was well represented on the block party’s string of folding tables full of potluck dishes from a wide variety of world cuisines. Hatcher’s fiancé, Tony Barney, was grilling the hot dogs, while neighbors were piling the tables with the Samosas, dumplings, and potato salad, with a dividing line between vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare.
It was an influx of new residents from mostly Asia more than a decade ago that spurred the City of Cupertino to encourage block parties as a way of introducing new neighbors to one another.
Cupertino has the most comprehensive block party program in Santa Clara County. Find out why on Good Neighbor Stories.