By Anne Barab
Following months of planning, Branch Hollow Drive celebrated a COVID-modified Progressive Dinner for the 45th year in a row in December.
Instead of gathering inside people’s homes for appetizers, sit-down dinner, after-dinner drinks and gift exchange, organizers revamped their usual plans:
- The party was held outside in the Branch Hollow cul-de-sac at the end of the street.
- We set up six-foot tables ten feet apart, with couples seated only at each end and keeping family groups together.
- Instead of three courses, we served only individual-sized appetizers – no community bowls of chips or veggies and dips.
- We also served beer, wine, water and our signature ice cream after dinner drink.
- We did not serve a main course nor did we include the usual white elephant gift exchange.
- Instead of a four to five hour long party, we shortened it to 1 1/2 hours, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
- Everyone was firmly instructed to wear a mask and maintain social distancing (which we accomplished more or less successfully.)
- We gave out party favors of glow in the dark necklaces with bottles of hand sanitizer hanging on them.
- We lavishly decorated our tables, but used only disposable tableware.
- We scheduled a rain date in case of inclement weather and the weather cooperated beautifully.
- NO ONE GOT COVID IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE PARTY.
There you have it. COVID cannot hold Branch Hollow down. We’ve shared our details so you too can plan a fun, safe block party on your street.
Here’s another suggestion:Everyone has acquired portable chairs and beverage containers. All spring, summer and fall we’ve been gathering along the street around 5pm for impromptu Happy Hour socializing, BYOB. We’ve even enjoyed outdoor Movie Night every Saturday evening in June and July. Again, the theme is social distancing and Bring Your Own Chair, Beverage, Blanket and Bug Spray.
As I’ve walked the neighborhood, I’ve noticed several similar Happy Hour groups congregating regularly. I’m thinking of bringing my beverage and crashing the one on Windy Knoll in front of Frank and Martha Hart’s house.
Covid is BAD, but we can all enjoy the unintended consequences of slowing down, staying home and relaxing by enjoying time with our neighbors.