More life on the streets, more friends closer to home, and a celebration of the community around us. There’s never been a better time to shine a light on the communities, networks and organisations that are holding everything together.

Here are the answers to some questions we get asked from time-to-time.

Why run a Street Feast?

There are obviously many good reasons to run a Street Feast; here are a few of our favourites:

• Be part of a national annual feast day of community celebration.
• Meet and (re)connect with neighbours.
• Help support community initiatives around the country.
• Celebrate how multi-cultural and diverse Ireland’s neighbourhoods have become.
• Share a simple, creative, self-organised lunch.
• Proclaim our love for locally grown food.
• Feel safer around our communities in the future.

While some of us are lucky enough to be a part of a strong community, there are many of us who find ourselves increasingly isolated. By strengthening our communities, we’ll all be better able to cope with whatever changes the future may bring. Street Feast gives us an excuse to get out there, share food and conversation, and help build stronger neighborhoods.

Closing my street (does it have to be a street?)

You don’t have to close your street at all. You don’t even have to hold it on a street. Street Feasts can be held anywhere. But if you do like the sound of moving the cars out of the way for the day and setting up bang in the middle of your street then there are ways to make it happen. Visit your local Garda station – they may be willing to help you out.

You’ll need permission from your council to officially close a public road. Your local council’s website will usually have a form to fill in and they may ask you to pay fees for closing the street. We are trying to persuade councils not to charge. It’s best to apply well in advance but don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds!

Do I need insurance?

Some councils may require you take out Public Liability Insurance, usually as part of your road closure application. If you are planning an event in public space it is worth considering taking out insurance.

The good news is that most community organisations and residents’ associations already have insurance. It’s usually just a matter of seeing if they can get involved, and asking them to help with the insurance cover. Annual Public Liability Insurance for neighbourhoods can cost as little as €120.

We have secured a great deal with Bhp insurance for 2017 with an insurance package for Street Feasts for €100. Perhaps it’s worth considering investing in, so that many more events can come about. If you need any help with insurance, do get in touch: hello@streetfeast.ie

What if it rains?

Rain never stopped us before! But we’ve got a mighty memory for forgetting the sunny days and remembering the washouts. Odds are on for a cracking summer in 2017, but there is no harm in being prepared for possible rain. And we can be. After all, we’ve been dealing with the stuff for long enough now!

Borrow a light tarpaulin and string it over the street as a practice run for possible downpours. Agree on somewhere beforehand that everyone will relocate to if the heavens open. How about the community centre? The local scout hall? (Scouting Ireland have pledged their support for 2016) Or somebody’s garage opened up? If you’re the kind that’ll be up worrying about it on the night before you could consider planning the whole thing at the community centre or somewhere else indoors. There are no rules about where feasting should happen.

What about food health and safety?

When preparing food, common sense applies! The biggest barbecue pitfall is uncooked meat. A handy hint – cook the meat in the oven and then finish it off on the barbecue to ensure you still capture those yummy flavours. Do as you normally do at home. Wash hands and dishes with hot water. Keep everything clean. Don’t forget to keep your raw meat separate from your cooked meat. That includes using separate chopping boards, knives and plates.

Street Feast is a day of local lunches across Ireland on 11th June, hosted by you and your neighbours. They can be anywhere really - out on the street, in a local park or in your front garden.

There are lots of good reasons to have a Street Feast, but it's really just a great excuse to eat great food, celebrate your local community and meet new people who live near you.