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Thread: CJ07 Dinner Plans

  1. #1
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    Question CJ07 Dinner Plans

    I wanted to start a reasonable discussion about what to do for dinner during CJ07--the pros and cons of everything. I am, in no way, partial to any particular scenario here.

    Even if you didn't attend CJ06 this will catch you up to speed about the details. Every year for CJ we have a dinner at a restaurant, as a group. It's usually on Saturday night after the Chili's show. Generally it has been an okay experience. With the usual hassles of a restaurant trying to serve 50+ people at the same time, you can expect things to go wrong for some people, and we've tried to adjust from year to year about what to do. So that's what this thread is for.

    For 2007 we have an opportunity to have a formal catered dinner at a facility. This opens up a new door...but also new problems. The facility would be St. Andrews Hall, which is attached to Angels for Animals, an organization which humanely treats animals (and also one of the groups toward which we donated in 2006). The hall can easily fit our whole group. We would also get a private tour of the facility, including the infamous cat area. We would be able to see our donation in action, which is important. These are all good things...yet there are logistical problems which remain unresolved:

    - How do we pay for the catered food and the room?
    - How do we get everyone to the facility (approx. 25 min from the hotels)?
    - What would everyone expect to pay, per person?
    - What day/night would we do this?
    - Would this complement or supplant the park on Saturday?
    - Can we afford to have the picnic AND this dinner?

    I want to stress that we are under no obligation to use this hall. If we can't do it, no problem. My only concern is that, if we DO want to do this, we have to figure out a plan of action so I can reserve it.

    My initial thoughts were that, if we were going to do some sort of formal dinner, it could be on Friday night. This gives us time to get there, eat, tour, and get back the hotel without any pressure of a schedule hanging over our heads. To me it's the most logical night. Obviously those people who don't show up until Saturday would miss it. But it would still cover the majority of the people. And just to clarify...by "formal" I mean, jeans without holes. It's not a suit-and-tie thing, by any means. Just look sort of nice and as a group, I think we'd be okay.

    If this plan doesn't sound appealing then we can go back to finding a restaurant that can handle a group. And dumbass me, I realized almost immediately after CJ06 that there was a pretty good solution: TGI Friday's. It's right across Rt. 224, from the hotels. Plenty of parking spaces, and they do have a large seating area (indoor or outdoor) that probably could be reserved. I really don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. Too many things going on at one time, probably.

    Money-wise, it would be quite a stretch to do both a formal dinner plus the picnic on Saturday. We're talking double the food, two days in a row, plus the cost of the hall and pavilion. The St. Andrews dinner would cost approximately $500-700 for everything. The picnic is about the same. We have about $800 in the account right now (late Sept. 2006), and I have to pay myself back for the pavilion rental out of that money. I don't see us getting any external funds this year (unless we start thumping for sponsors). I am also concerned about the setup/cleanup. It's...going to be a lot of work, there is no doubt, and therefore a lot more stress. However, what I could do is contact Diane @ Angels and see if they have any recommendations for help, catering, etc. I'm sure they do, and maybe at a reduced rate.

    So...that's basically it. Thoughts? Concerns? I guess, more importantly...should we have the formal dinner, or not?

  2. #2
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    I personally like the idea of a nice dinner Friday night.

    As for the cost of it, whether we have a dinner together at a hall, or in a restaurant...we have to eat that night anyway....we'll still be spending money on it either way.

    Quite honestly, since there is a full kitchen there, it is concievable that dinner could be made there. Of course, that means some volunteers for cooking it, and then others for clean up...but, we've never had a lack of volunteers (that I know of ) for jobs when it comes down to it.
    If we were to vote on what kind of food to be served, depending on what it is....some can be made ahead of time and frozen, then just heated or cooked at the facility. I have a couple things in mind that would work easily, if everyone were to agree.

    -How do we pay for the catered food and the room?
    **How much is the room?

    ** If we go with the plan I just suggested, it may not cost as much as catering.


    - How do we get everyone to the facility (approx. 25 min from the hotels)?
    **Car pool, caravan


    - What would everyone expect to pay, per person?
    **I would think $10 per person isn't bad, considering what it would cost to pay for dinner at a restaurant.

    - What day/night would we do this?
    **Friday night sounds good

    - Would this complement or supplant the park on Saturday?
    **I say 'compliment' the picnic...that is always a good time, relaxing and fun

    - Can we afford to have the picnic AND this dinner?
    **As I said, we have to pay to eat one way or another....



    A couple suggestions I have for dinner are:

    Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
    Lasagne
    Stuffed Peppers
    Meatball Subs

    All could be served with Garlic bread (with exception of subs), Salad, and a dessert.

    These main dishes are easily prepared ahead of time, and frozen. Then heated or cooked at the facility. They can then be served Buffet style.

  3. #3
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    I see your getting an earlier start. Even though it rained last year, we really enjoyed it.
    Is there a minimum amount of people we need to have for the hall?
    Sounds really cool, as above, we need to eat anyway.

  4. #4
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    - How do we get everyone to the facility (approx. 25 min from the hotels)?
    Have the local gys show you around / carravan there works.

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    How do we get everyone to the facility (approx. 25 min from the hotels)?
    (Whoa...I just quoted me).

    What I mean by this is...we'd have to make serious carpool plans. It's not a car show, it's a dinner, so to save some gas I think the prudent thing would be to carpool as much as possible. But not everyone will want to do that...and for the cars staying at the hotel, I'm sure the owners would want someone to watch after them. That means someone stays behind. Again, it's a logistical thing but one that demans some pondering because it means someone's not going to dinner with us.

    Minimum people...I would think at least 20 to make it worthwhile.

    Cost-wise...I think it would be more like $15/person with that kind of spread, Karen. But seriously, it would be over $10 when you figure the cost of the hall, the cost of the food, the rentals, etc. And I think if we got an actual caterer then it would be even more. It's sort of like having a small wedding reception!

    See guys, my whole dilemma is, I take all of this very personally because, in a roundabout way, I determine how you spend your money and use your vacation time every summer. It is a tremendous responsibility that I don't take lightly. I hate like hell to keep digging into your pockets. Just not comfortable doing that. On the other hand...we do have to eat.

    We could always order a crapload of pizzas and eat in the parking lot of the hotel...

  6. #6
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    My vote goes for pizza in the parking lot.. solves caravan issue.. leaving cars behind issue and we'd all have just as much fun as we would at a formal hall.

  7. #7
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    Pizzas work too.

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    For the pizza idea....we're still talking about Sat. nite, after the car show, right?
    I like the idea, but need to state some (probably obvious) concerns. Not concerns really, more like issues.

    -The pizza place would need to be notified well in advance to prepare a lot of pizzas.
    -There would probably need to be a set time for this to take place, so the pizza place knows when to have them done.
    -What about cleanup at the hotel? There are going to be a lot of boxes when we're done. I think I remember seeing a dumpster in the lot, would the hotel be ok with us dumping them in that?
    -How/where to "serve" the pizzas. We can't just set them on the ground, and I don't think anyone would want them setting on their car.
    -Then there's inevitable toppings issue. :-)

    I don't mean to be discouraging, believe me. I lovez my pizza and think it's a good idea. Besides, it also solves the 'when-staying-in-a-hotel,-you-must-order-pizza' rule! LOL

    Just some things to think about.
    Kevin

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    what night r we talking about pizza for? friday or saturday?

  10. #10
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    There is a pizza shop in my town. Little mom and pop kind of place that will make it right in front of you. Can seat all of us and not too far from catjam. Just an idea.

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