Archive | October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

Friday Night Wine Downs

12 Oct

Photo: Caitlin Ryan

 

The wine is poured, the food is on the table and the children are playing in the backyard. The work week is over and the residents of Fern Drive are ready to Wine Down.

What was once a street full of strangers and passing acquaintances became a tight-knit neighborhood after K.D. Molnar introduced the idea of starting monthly Friday Night Wine Downs and last weekend, Fern Drive residents celebrated their 20th event.

“I thought, what do we all have in common? Everybody likes wine, right? Who doesn’t like to wind down after a long week?,” said Molnar, who was nicknamed Julie McCoy, after the cruise director from the Love Boat television series, for her ability to bring the neighborhood together.

“It started out with a bang and it’s been going ever since. I think the thing that is so special about it is that it’s a family thing. It’s not get a babysitter, it’s not we all have to get in the car and get all fancied up. Everyone walks down the street,” said Molnar.

The Wine Down idea evolved out of Molnar’s family’s annual Donut Day, where friends and families met at her parent’s home to socialize and eat. When Molnar moved to Fern Drive, she knew it was the place she would live in for the rest of her life and wanted to find a way to get to know her neighbors. She decided to host her own Donut Day.

“I’m a graphic designer so I printed out post cards and told my story of why we’re doing this Donut Day and I’m sure people were like what is she trying to sell? Insurance or Tupperware or Amway? Why is she offering us free donuts on a Sunday?” said Molnar.

But several neighbors did show up and by the time Molnar came up with the Wine Down idea, she had ten families to send invites to.

“Whenever I tell anyone about it they’re like, ‘oh, I want to live in your neighborhood! I want to wine down!’ And I tell them: start one! You just have to get a group of people together that are willing to come together once a month.”

There is also a ‘wine fairy’ amongst the group, whose identity is unknown, that drops off personalized, hand-painted Lolita wine glasses on unsuspecting neighbor’s doors. Eight women have received the glasses, which have different sayings painted on them, such as ‘social butterfly’, ‘aged to perfection’, and ‘it’s five-o’clock somewhere.’

Many of the families on Fern Drive credit their friendships to the wine down gatherings and have become a source of support for each other. The moms arrange play-dates, or ‘mom swaps’, where they take turns watching each other’s kids, and some have started walking groups. Some families vacation together and others do business with one another. And when one of the neighbors announced he was battling throat cancer, everyone rallied together to help his family in anyway they could.

Molnar insists that anyone can turn their street into a community if they find something to bring everyone together, whether it be a Wine Down, a book club or a Bunco Night. She encourages anyone interested in starting their own Wine Down to email her at KD@duggandesigns.com for guidance.

Originally published at  Fullerton Stories

 

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