News

A night in the park

Chamber offers dinner and live music on Sunday in Washington's Central Park

Rebecca Patterson (left) and Pam Green (right), enjoyed an evening in Washington’s Central Park on Sunday while participating in a fundraiser hosted by the local Chamber and Cafe Dodici. (Ashley Duong/The Union)
Rebecca Patterson (left) and Pam Green (right), enjoyed an evening in Washington’s Central Park on Sunday while participating in a fundraiser hosted by the local Chamber and Cafe Dodici. (Ashley Duong/The Union)
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WASHINGTON — With their table at least 6 feet away from other diners and wait staff all wearing personal protective equipment, Washington residents Rebecca Patterson and Pam Green were excited to spend their Sunday evening at the town’s Central Park.

“We feel wonderful. It’s a beautiful night, the music is good. It’s a good fundraiser,” Green said.

The pair arrived at the park with masks on, which they kept on-hand in case they wanted to wander and would be closer to other people.

“We just decided we would sit at a table by ourselves, and everybody is maintaining distance,” Patterson said.

The event, hosted by both the Washington Chamber of Commerce and Cafe Dodici, saw about 60 people enjoy the outdoor dining experience that featured food from the cafe and live music by performers from local nonprofit M.U.S.I.C. Inc.

No detail was overlooked as Chamber Executive Director Michelle Redlinger, wearing a face shield, distributed bug spray and hand sanitizer to each table. Redlinger said the Chamber would continue to look for ways to host fundraising activities and events that continue to abide by health and safety precautions.

“That’s in our discussions. Outdoor events that we can kind of space people out and bring people together on a smaller scale,” she said. A tentative idea includes tailgate events during football season.

Although the Chamber advertised the event for less than two weeks, diners traveled from as far as Iowa City to enjoy the evening.

Dan and Ruthanne Hyduke decided to make the trip to Washington to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary.

“It’s really nice to be out. I called to ask about the social distancing and whether the wait staff would be wearing face coverings when we heard about it,” Ruthanne said.

Many Washington County residents also were excited for an opportunity to get out. United Presbyterian Home residents Robert and Connie Crane were sad to see many long-standing summer events canceled but jumped at the opportunity to support the Chamber and a downtown business.

“We feel the whole season has been a downer, so this is a way to contribute a little something,” Robert said.