It’s not a promotional thing, and it’s not just because we love to party (we do love a good party, though).
We do it for community.
You may have heard we’re a social enterprise. We want to make Morningside a better place to live. We believe we can achieve that through helping people in the community connect and engage with one another.
We created Crave as a place for people to come together, and we think it’s working pretty well. Our community initiatives are generally for this reason, too. Our street parties don’t just serve as a place for free food; they serve as way for community to connect.
How does this happen?
Firstly, our street parties are a “shared experience”. If people who don’t usually talk or engage with each other have a shared experience, there’s something for them to talk about.
It’s like when you’re on an aeroplane that has a rocky landing. Sometimes this experience results in a group cheer for the pilot and crew. Other times, the passenger sitting next to you needs to hold your hand. Your circulation may be temporarily cut off, but you have something to talk about. The ice has broken and there’s an opportunity to talk. An opportunity to perhaps suggest hypnotherapy – it worked for your cousin, after all.
Boom – you’re connecting and engaging.
It’s the same concept for our street parties – just without the panic and travel sickness.
There’s delicious food, great music, big smiles, and PLENTY of fun things to connect and engage over. For example:
“You’re looking for the vegetarian option too?” Boom – a buddy to find the tofu with.
“Sorry – you have a bit of paella on your face.” Boom – a shared laugh as you find out you also have paella on your face (it was very nice paella).
Or, “Oh dang, you like Adams too!? He’s my sister’s niece’s ex-flatmate’s brother! Come over and watch the playoffs next Saturday!” Boom – you finally see your neighbour out of his/her work attire and s/he’s donning a basketball singlet. It’s a date. Hey – it could even be love.
And that’s another reason (not the love, although we’ve seen that happen too).
Sometimes it’s good to see things – and people – in a different light. Like our very own Jaz, for example (who we’ve written about in this newsletter). She makes a fine coffee, and you’ve probably already chatted to her about what a wonderful keep cup you have. But we bet you never knew she was studying for her PhD in Biomedical Science. (OK, maybe that’s a bit more difficult to engage over. But she does explain it very well!)
Finally, there’s a thing we called “communitas moments”. You see, every one behind the scenes of a street party – the chef, the face painter, the litter-picker-upperer – is a volunteer. We all work together, not really seeing the results and the rewards until we “reach the top of the mountain”. And after we’ve scaled the street-party-mountain and it’s time to pack up, we’re all still there. No one leaves, no matter how tired, until the job is done. We’ve all got each other’s back, and that’s a really good feeling.
The very first street party was eight years ago, and there were about 80 attendees. This year, we had just over 1000. We know, we used a lot of plates.
For those eight years, at the start and end of every summer, just like Bowie and Jagger we’ve partied in the street. Street parties have become a significant part of the ‘hood, and they’ve helped shape Morningside into what it is today: a community that is really, really great to be part of.