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Progressive block party a great way to meet neighbors

Within a week of accepting my position as education reporter for The Elkhart Truth, my husband and I had an offer in on a house — the first and only house we looked at in the area.

The home on Third Street near downtown Goshen just felt right. The price was right, and so was the location along the Millrace Canal — an area that is being revitalized with the River Race Redevelopment Project, a new brewery and the renovation of the Hawks Building, among other projects.

After participating in a progressive block party with other downtown residents Saturday, Jan. 24, I am positive that we made the right decision.

The event, organized by Goshen appraiser Kelly Kramer, was a twist on the potluck dinner — rather than a one-stop gathering, the party was split between 10 homes along a three-mile route.

The progressive party format splits the costs and the burden of hosting 30 guests.

Here’s how it works:

  • 10 houses are designated as host homes
  • Each of those hosts prepares an appetizer and a cocktail to serve
  • The group stays at each house for 45 minutes and then moves on to the next stop

Saturday’s hosts set the bar high for the next progressive block party — everything was delicious.

There was a nacho bar paired with margaritas at one stop and bread and cheese paired with a strawberry lemonade punch at another.

White wine sangria was served with bacon-wrapped apple cubes and a plum reduction glaze at a later stop.

Another host offered smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese on baguettes, served with French 75 champagne cocktails. 

The tour ended with a dessert of hot buttered rum and homemade apple pie.

Also on the menu: Bloody Marys, cucumber sandwiches, quiches and turkey puffs, vodka gimlets, and Moscow Mules. 

But even better than the delicious food and drinks was the company.

I had a chance to meet nearly 30 neighbors and learn about all the cool things they are doing to make Goshen a better place to live.

I have only lived on Third Street for two weeks now, and I already feel at home in my neighborhood — so thanks for that, progressive block party folks. Count me in as a host for round two.

Sounds like a fun day, right? Here are a few tips if you want to organize your own progressive block party:

  • Designate a group herder. It is important to stick to the schedule.
  • Map it out. Make sure the host homes are close enough together to make it an easy walk.
  • Plan as a group to make sure there are no repeated recipes among houses.
  • Try to keep the food and drinks simple or prepare ahead of time. Hosts should be able to participate in most of the stops instead of being stuck at home prepping.

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