Think of a progressive potluck as a giant dinner party for the neighborhood. Select hosts coordinate menus of appetizers, entrees and dessert, while the rest of the 'hood stops at each place to munch and mingle. Here's how you can plan one.
Invite the Neighbors
Option 1: Invite them in person.
You might feel like a door-to-door salesperson, but the invitee will certainly feel welcomed and appreciated thanks to your effort. They are also most likely to come if they receive an invitation in person.
Option 2: Put flyers in each neighbor's mailbox.
Make sure to leave contact info on the bottom of the flyer and have ask guests call for details and to RSVP.
Option 3: Go digital with your invite.
Send out online invitations to keep things easy to manage and information private. Be sure to list the hosts, locations, and what he or she will be serving as well as who to contact with questions in your invite!
*The day before, call to remind as many people as possible so they don't forget and make plans for the night of the dinner.*
Choose the Hosts
Pick the host houses in the neighborhood for the evening.
Try to keep the houses near enough to each other so guests won't feel rushed to get from one house to another.
Do not pick more than three homes. You want to allow for about an hour per home.
Choose neighbors you already know to make things easier. After the first dinner you'll have met more neighbors and everyone can take turns hosting.
Choose a Theme
The theme can be related to a particular kind of food. Stick with foods that everyone will be able to prepare a dish for, like Italian or Mexican, and try to have all the hosts agree on a theme together.
You can also choose a theme by picking a letter of the alphabet that the food must begin with.
Holidays, particularly those in the summer like the Fourth of July are also a great starting point.
If there's no particular holiday you want to celebrate you could always opt for a seasonal theme as well. We love the idea of a Fall Harvest!
Focus on 3 courses for the evening: Appetizers, Main Course (and sides) and Dessert. Assign one course to each host.
For beverages, you can ask each host to provide a specific drink. It works well if the appetizer host supplies alcohol, the main course host supplies regular beverages (sodas, lemonade, water, etc.), and the dessert host supplies coffee and hot chocolate.
The other option is to specify that guests BYOB, and only ask hosts to provide soft drinks, water and coffee.