Join the progressive movement on Mar. 7

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Every year since 1986, St. Anthony Park neighbors have enjoyed a progressive dinner that ranges from south St. Anthony Park to University Grove. This year’s event will be Mar. 7, when more than 100 happy souls will again seize the opportunity to meet neighbors and enjoy fabulous food.

The big question for those of us who have been doing this for years is, why isn’t every house in the neighborhood involved in this fun activity?

Participating is easy. You only have to make one course: appetizer, salad, main course or dessert. And you only need to host 6 to 10 people, including yourself.

The master plan is coordinated by a team of neighbors gathered by Fariba Sanikhatam and Karen Kistler. They sort participants into groups that change for each course. No one eats with anyone else more than once. Accessibility needs and food preferences (vegetarian, food allergies, etc.) are accommodated.

The first organizers, Ann and Harland Copeland, did this all on index cards, a system inherited by Gail Weig, followed by Diane Young and later Marcie O’Connor. Kistler and Sanikhatam experimented with computerizing the system, but they concluded that in this case, human effort is more efficient.

The evening starts at St. Anthony Park United Methodist Church for appetizers and punch at 5:30 p.m. When you arrive, you receive your list of destinations for the night and the names of the guests coming to your house. Those who sign up for appetizers “host” at the church and help with setup and cleanup.

Folks leave the church to get to their salad course by 6:30 and move on from there to the main course at 7:30. At 8:45, groups move again and reconfigure for dessert.

Don’t wait until you notice all the neighborhood traffic on Mar. 7 to imagine what fun it would be to join the party. To participate, e-mail Fariba.sanikhatam@comcast.net or write to Karen Kistler, 2180 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108. Registration deadline is Mar. 1.

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