Reporter’s Notebook: I Live in the Best St. Cloud Neighborhood
ST. CLOUD -- This is National Good Neighbor Day, which gives me a chance to brag about the great neighbors -- and neighborhood -- that we have.
Coming up in December we will have lived in our southeast St. Cloud neighborhood for six years. For the past three years, there has been a growing group of neighbors that get together regularly during what we call "Flamingo Friday".
It all started when we, along with two other households, had a spur of the moment get together on a deck. From there the Flamingo Friday idea was born. It's really a simple idea, the hosting house puts pink flamingoes in their yard by Wednesday, which gives notice to the rest of the neighborhood that they are the ones hosting the Flamingo Friday party that week.
Over the course of the past three years, we've had people from about 20 different households join our group. Not all at once, but at various gatherings over the course of dozens of get-togethers. Some folks have come just a few times and others come almost every single time. Whenever a house in our neighborhood is bought, we're sure to invite the new owners to the next party and welcome them to our neighborhood.
There's a traveling "kit" of pink flamingo decorations that goes to the hosting house with everything from lights, to can coolers, to plates and napkins.
We also have a neighborhood private Facebook group that keeps everyone in the loop on what's happening in our little social circle.
Because a majority of our parties are in the summer and fall months we've been able to safely socially distance in driveways, backyards, and decks this year.
St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis has been known to show up at a few of our gatherings, even though he's not officially a member of the neighborhood. And, he's given our group the "Good Neighbor of the Month" award for our efforts at a City Council meeting.
We've got our first neighborhood "Oktoberfest" planned in a few weeks.
We have our annual Small Business Saturday bus trip coming up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving where we rent a bus with pickup and drop off in our neighborhood, and it takes us on a local brewery tour.
And then there's the third annual progressive Christmas party in December where each hosting home offers a signature cocktail and an appetizer.
(You might have noticed a recurring them with our group).
The National Good Neighbor website says the good neighbor mindset includes: connection, invitation, celebration, awareness, and availability. I think our neighborhood is nailing it.