Longboaters figure out ways to mix and mingle from afar.
On the weekend, it’s hard to keep Longboaters from being social, even in the age of social distancing. Several areas of Longboat Key organized safe, distanced parties — without having residents leave their homes.
Happy hour at Grand Bay looks a bit different these days. On Friday, residents came out onto their patios, shouting up, down and all around to their neighbors who had also ventured out with a cocktail. A bubble machine on one balcony blew.
The party was difficult to maintain, far away as its attendees all were, but joyful shouts rang between the condo buildings as folks waved and symbolically clinked glasses. Closer neighbors talked up and down to each other, parsing out which units they were connecting with.
Up on the north end of the island, Village residents on Fox Street organized a block party in which residents had dinner on their driveways as neighbors strummed guitars, shared stories and got a game of charades going.
“We have a fun street,” Debbie Stachura said. “We come out and say hi all the time.”
Fox Street residents meandered around the area, being careful not to step onto a neighbor’s driveway or get too close when walking around. Gentle reminders were issued when someone strayed too close to another.
“It’s certainly safe,” organizer Nancy Greenhouse said. “Everybody stays 10 feet apart. It’s a good antidote for isolation.”
Casey Lamb and James Braha delighted the small crowd with guitar strumming and music for the evening. The famous peacocks of the Village roamed around, squawking with what seemed like cheers every time a song ended. Residents laughed at how they seemed to be applauding, too.
Though residents seemed to have a good time, Greenhouse and fellow block party organizer Dale Rosen aren’t sure they’ll make it a tradition.
“The more you do these things the less exciting they are,” Greenhouse said.
Later in the weekend, around 5 p.m. on Sunday at Emerald Harbor, residents stepped out to sing “God Bless America” as a community, as organized by resident Snookie Register. Fellow resident Charlie Korbuly played a version sung by Kate Smith on his loudspeaker as residents sang along and toasted to America.
“We were six or more feet away from each other, but we could talk and that was nice,” Register said.
Register hopes to make it a Sunday tradition to bring the community together while the coronavirus pandemic rages.