Bridges have been in the news over the past week, in light of historic flooding in the Midlands.
But, at least as of Thursday, the higher-than-normal rivers are not expected to affect the previously planned – and first ever – Dinner on the Bridge, set for Oct. 18, in the center of the Gervais Street bridge.
Emile DeFelice, organizer of the event, said Thursday the spark of the idea for the dinner came from a discussion he had with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
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“There are two goals for this dinner,” DeFelice said. “First, of course, is the physical goal of raising money for the organizations. Canoeing for Kids, in Lexington, has taken disadvantaged kids from the area canoeing and paddling down the river for free every summer. And Harvest Hope serves the needs of people on both sides of the river.”
And of course, the funds for the Riverkeeper “will help make the river better.”
The second goal “is a metaphysical one,” DeFelice said. “When you travel you don’t say that you’re from Forest Acres or Shandon, you say that you’re from Columbia. That’s the important thing. We need to start thinking and acting as one city and one region. It’s important to take a look at the things that divide us. The river doesn’t divide us, it unites us.”
Details: A three-course dinner on the Gervais Street Bridge, 4-8 p.m. Oct. 18 (rain date Oct. 25). Beer, wine, tea and water will be served across the bridge, cocktails served on the West Columbia side of the bridge only.
Ticket sales end midnight Sunday: As of Thursday, remaining tickets are buy a pair for yourself and send a local first responder and his/her date for free. Officials from West Columbia, city of Columbia and Richland County Sheriff’s Department will determine who you honor with your purchase. Tickets are $150 per person, $300 a couple and seating is general admission. Tickets available at www.tickettailor.com or through gervaisstreetbridgedinner.com
Participating restaurants: Bourbon Columbia/Rosso Trattoria Italia (passed appetizers, dessert and signature cocktail), Spotted Salamander (first course) and The Kingsman/Ristorante Divino (second course). River Rat Brewery will supply local beer, Republic National Distributing Company will supply wine and Southern Way Catering will be helping with the logistics of service. US Foods is donating food to the restaurants for preparation. Vegetarian options will be available.
Dress code and other tidbits: This will be a white linen table service (meaning proper plates and silver ware and glasses). Cocktail attire preferred, but you’ll want to be comfortable and there will be some walking involved (across the bridge and to and from parking) so wear comfortable shoes. And it may get windy in the afternoon. A jacket or wrap might be a smart addition to your wardrobe. Also, with comfort in mind, there will be 10 bathrooms available, including two handicapped accessible, on both sides of the bridge.
As far as music, DeFelice said, “it’s a surprise. Just say that Columbia hasn’t seen anything like this before.”
And parking? There will be designated areas, DeFelice was finalizing some plans and said “ticket buyers will be sent details via email but are urged to carpool or take a cab.”
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