28 December 2010

New Year's Eve - Dinner Plans

King St., Charleston, S.C.

Years ago as my marriage ended and I faced the fact that I was alone, I was walking up King St.and saw an announcement for a brain storming session for the First Night Festival. I said to myself, "I'll be damned if I am going to sit alone on my couch at midnight" and walked in. I was greeted by a gentleman who looked me over and said, "You must be one of the artists?"

Ha! I wasn't an artist but I loved him for thinking it. I volunteered that year signing in all the artists and performers and the next year and for quite a few years of the Festival's hayday, I was on the board and coordinated all the volunteers for the event.

I roped in everyone I knew to staff venues. We had fire cauldrons in the streets, belly dancers, street performers, comedians, musicians and fireworks. I walked for miles on New Year's Eve checking on venues in churches, schools and auditoriums and touching base with 2 - 300 volunteers. It was a crazy fun night.

When the city absorbed the First Night Festival we looked at each other wondering what to do with ourselves. We started going out to an early dinner at a different restaurant every year. Initially it was my core group of friends but the group changed and grew and now often consists of people who might otherwise be alone, friends as well as some of my hospital volunteers.

We've treated ourselves to Ansons, Fulton Five, FIG and Circa 1886. The last two years we were welcomed like royalty to McCrady's Long Room when my friend Andre' Guillet was the General Manager and spoiled us all. This year we are going to FISH Restaurant on King St. We go early before the craziness on the streets and are often happily snug at home to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

If you haven't made your plans yet, going out to dinner it is a good way to celebrate! Most restaurants have a fixed price meal as well as their regular menu. If you decide to go to early dinner at FISH let me know so I can say "hey!"