We haven’t been aware of a Neighbour Day event in this area before and we’ve been wanting to run one for a while. The national day (on the last Sunday of March) has been running for 10 years now. Its origins are important.
One of the great things I noticed at this event was the interaction between people. Unlike a market, the stalls here had a focus on ‘activities’ not buying stuff. Not that markets or buying stuff is wrong, but we thought Neighbour Day needed to be more than that. And it was!
612 ABC Brisbane recently (audio: listen at 4.30mins) gave our event a plug and also asked people to sum up Carindale with a slogan. Most people found it hard to go past the shopping centre side of things. But who wants to be defined by a shopping centre with car park rage?
There were kids making hand puppets and then playing with them in puppet theatre. There was book swapping and conversations as locals arrived and added books to the bookswap in exchange for other pre-loved books. At the Green Dean Earth & Food crop swap, people were discussing what was growing in their garden, what ingredients were in the cake they brought along and the like. Locals appeared to be highly receptive to these sort of activities and conversations.
We were entertained by 6 of the fantastic B.U.M.S (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society). If you loved them as much as we did, make sure you get along to the SPRUKE event (Brisbane’s Ukulele Festival) in September. They were so versatile and their sounds were fun and friendly – very suited to a neighbourly event in the park.
Clive of Carindale set up his “The Coffee Guy” van. We were happy to be supporting a local business but I got a lovely surprise when he handed me money at the end and said that he was giving 50c from each cup to Team Gabby (a little girl from Carindale who needs a great deal of support) which has been our chosen cause when people want to buy books rather than swap. We had no idea he was going to do this. Clive, his wife Freya and their two children also donated a large number of beautiful books to the bookswap.
Having people lending us marquees, bringing extra chairs along and the like – made everything run smoothly. We also had great support from all levels of government – from printing flyers for us and lending us signage to spreading the word (such as in Adrian Schrinner’s enewsletter).
As groups gathered I saw people point and say things like “I live just over that way” as neighbours were discovering who lived right near them.
I think it’s important for Neighbour Day events to be driven in this way – they don’t need to be expensive and, if they are, they are likely to have missed the purpose of real and meaningful connections.
Well done neighbours, that was some great community in action!