Knox United Block Party
By Alisa Pothier-Merrett
Four hundred people recently attended a free block party at Knox United Church in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. The event featured a bouncy castle, live music, face painting, a balloon artist, games and more. At the concession there were hamburgers and hot dogs, snow cones and cotton candy.
Many people were amazed that everything was free said Rev. Dr. Ross Bartlett, minister of Knox United, “They didn’t expect free stuff from a church.” This reaction surprised him and, after much thought, he’s came up with two potential reasons for this reaction.
“In our society there is, in fact, very little that is truly free,” he noted, “Also, churches have a reputation, deserved or not, of asking for money. If it had been a different sort of day, “I would have liked to discuss this response with some of the people who had voiced it.”
According to Bartlett, the main goal for the event was to make the community aware of Knox United and to let people know that the church was open to them. A secondary goal was to determine which method of advertising would provide the best results.
Aside from the church sign and a note in the local paper, the church also sent letters home with the congregation, and mailed out 5,000 postcards to the community.
Bartlett commented that “the results [of the advertising experiment] weren’t as clear” as they had hoped. This was because participants didn’t readily disclose how they’d heard about the event. Coupons and postcards were not brought to the event, as anticipated.
For those who may wish to try a block party, the cost was $850. The largest expense was the food followed by the bouncy castle; rented
from a local party store.