In September 2011, 60 neighbors from Quarry Lane gathered for the Inaugural Soirée on Quarry. The event had a simple goal: To establish an annual gathering to share food, play yard games and deepen community ties on the block. As is typical, over-scheduled lives, sports, weekend activities, vacations and some turnover in the neighborhood led to a 12-year pause. However, this summer on August 26th, that changed with the second ever Soirée on Quarry.
The day was beautiful and more than 85 neighbors from the 1300, 1400 and 1500 blocks descended on the home of Bill and Melissa Reid to share in the end of summer fun. A total of 33 of the 48 households attended the party. It was a great opportunity for neighbors to connect, especially since one-third of them have lived on Quarry Lane for less than five years (with two of those years largely under lockdown because of COVID.)
In late May, our 14-person committee began planning this year’s festivities and after four banter-filled brainstorming sessions and one evening of door-to-door recruitment, we held the party. The event included committee-supplied main dishes and sides, salads and desserts brought by attendees. Households were asked to BYOS (“Stuff”) including beverages and lawn chairs. Games featured three-legged races, sack races, balloon toss, corn hole, a bounce house and scavenger hunt for the younger children led by teenager, Natalie Olenik. We used door-to-door recruitment campaigns and postcards to promote the event. We’d like to especially thank Lancaster Township who granted us a permit to block Quarry Lane between River and Wilson for the event, and Kids Cowboy Dentistry whose donation offset marketing and prizes for the yard game contest winners.
Feedback was positive and a few of the neighbors who joined as guests asked if we would expand the event next year to accommodate the larger School Lane Hills Neighborhood Community. To that notion, I responded, “Maybe, but first we plan to catch our breath from this year’s fun.”
Lots of people contributed to SOQ ’23 and I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of our committee; Paul Anater, Tom Baldrige, Carol, Mark and Paloma Bolt, Frank Carano, Samantha Kurtz, Aaron Miller, Maggie, Mary, Natalie and Rolie Olenik and, of course, our gracious hosts, Bill and Melissa Reid.
Plans are underway for SOQ3 and, based on the attendee survey, it looks as if the last weekend in August will be our target going forward. In addition to the Annual Soirée, talks are swirling to add Firepits in The Fall (a Backyard Chili Cookoff with College or NFL Football) and a Springtime Stroll Down Quarry Lane (an early April perennial swap inspired by the Kentucky Derby -- think seersuckers, sundresses and big hats coupled with mimosa’s and mint juleps and garnished with neighbors swapping hosta, cone flowers and some Shasta daisies.