If all goes according to plan, the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church gym is about to undergo a makeover, as Feb. 22 marks the fourth annual Delightful Dining Dinner — put on by the youth group — and nothing about the venue will look like a basketball court on that day.
“It looks like a high-end Italian bistro,” says Barb Wolter, director of religious education. “It’s amazing how they transform it.”
Lattice-style fences decked in decorative string lights and dim-lit lamps will create an atmosphere that youth minister Aaron Weddle, who coordinates the event, describes as “outdoorsy, but as classy as possible.”
“We ask people to dress up as if they were going to a very elegant restaurant,” Weddle says.
And the staff looks the part, too. Kids become fancy waiters, bussers, and maître d’s and learn proper serving etiquette, a local music teacher and her students play classy piano tunes, and a photographer snaps memento photos for diners.
“It’s a fun time for everyone to pretend they’re at a high-quality restaurant,” Wolter says. “The kids totally get into their characters.”
The menu is a bit of pretending as well. Diners might order a $100 octopus or shark, but everyone will receive spaghetti and meatballs, a salad and dessert, which is made clear on the menu. The items on the menu range from $5 to $100 but are only indicative of how much diners choose to donate when the waitress comes back with the bill.
“It fits the budget for everyone,” Wolter says.
No matter how much diners choose to give, the donations from the Delightful Dining Dinner are what make the St. Patrick’s youth group possible. Weddle says they usually raise $5,000 to $6,000 at this function, and this is what drives the youth group forward for the rest of the year.
“Without it, we probably wouldn’t be able to do the trips that we do,” Weddle says.
Table reservations begin to fill up about two weeks before the event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. and go until 8 or 9 p.m. However, Weddle says the Feb. 22 date is tentative. So contact the church or visit its website to keep current. That date could change to one in April, he says.
“(The dinner) brings the community together in a unique atmosphere,” says Weddle. “It’s nice for adults to see that high schoolers are responsible and do care for the community.”
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