The South Carolina climate is starting to ramp up to that time when the forces of nature seem perfectly fit for human outdoor activity. The wind is steady, but not too horrifying; the temperature is nice, but not too horrifying; There is absolutely nothing horrifying about the season aside from the endless downpours like our planet is taking a periodic dip into some cosmic ocean. With that aside, you have a limited window for comfortable entertainment before the summer hits and everyone is baked alive by the constant bombardment of solar radiation. In the spirit of spring, I have compiled a short list of events that beg to be organized by you, the usher of joy and merriment that brings disjointed friends and family members around a multi-course meal of potato salad, potato salad, and fried chicken. And more potato salad. I have also detailed some interesting themes and methods to achieve said themes to keep the party from looking like your family reunion out on some farm with relatives you haven’t seen in centuries. Set out some freshly cut flowers, build that Spotify playlist that you have prototyped in your head, and hit the yardwork because we are getting into four ideas that will make you the King or Queen of Spring (just enjoy that rhyme with me for a second).
The pot luck. I know it seems a little old fashioned, but don’t dis the pot luck quite yet. From the time of the caveman, human beings have congregated around food. It was the grease that oiled the story-telling machine; the lubricant that invited conversation among people who enjoyed similar tastes. There is a reason why so many social organizations have the pot luck as the go-to event catering service. First, it keeps you from having to foot the bill for all that food and gives you a good, socially-acceptable way to avoid it without appearing cheap! In all seriousness, food is a major part of the gathering and there are quite a few things to keep in mind like food allergies, quantities, and preferences; it makes the entire affair astronomically more complicated. The best way, in my opinion, to circumvent all this is to organize a pot luck. Everyone brings something they enjoy and hopefully something that doesn’t throw them into a painful allergic reaction.
The fire pit. From the time of the caveman, human beings have been mesmerized and entertained by fire. It is the fire of Prometheus, as the Greeks believed, that sparked all human technology and innovation. The fire is also the reason why humans have a lifespan, per the mythology, but you know. It’s a tradeoff. Bring the glory and inspiration inherent to flame to your party or social gathering! As you can see from the hundred or so Facebook pictures of your friends with fire pits, it is not a difficult contraption to make. If Billy, who in sixth grade ate an entire box of crayons (64 pack, mind you), can build an elegant fire pit, you can too. Check with the local fire department in your county before you start burning things willy-nilly, but generally the construction is safe; make sure that you clear the area and build the pit in an open area away from structures. Filling the bottom with river rocks is an added plus. Keep a pack of marshmallows and hot dogs nearby, and it will be a hit. If you’re making me a smore, light the thing on fire (don’t judge). It’s always great to watch the fire die as the party starts to unwind. The experience is transcendent.
The screen. Aside from the food, entertainment is another huge/stressful aspect of the gathering that falls squarely on your mighty shoulders. I mean you could have everyone stand around and chat but that starts to get irritating after he third time your neighbor tells you about when his dog got stuck in his privacy fence. I present to you the staple of the cinema experience: the projector. The device has been around forever and is the only thing trusted to display movies in all their nail-biting, heart racing glory. Without much trouble, you should be able to find someone that has a projector in their basement. The other option is to rent one from an AV supply store (for $99 or less per day, you can get a decent projector). Tie a huge sheet across some trees, and you’ve got it made (literally). Take a poll on what Quentin Tarantino movie you’ll be watching and now you don’t have to come up with awkward conversation topics that inevitably involve kids and that great job I’m sure they work at.
In the end, social gatherings are made by the person you are and the people you invite, so please be cool and invite only cool people. Fin. Have a good Spring.