The Room Where It Happened
Last December, walking into the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center for the first time since last year’s Sundance, the room was almost unrecognizable. The conference center is nice, but it looked nothing like it did for Sundance. In my mind, I pictured the lights, the pillars, the staging, from last summer’s event. It was that moment when I realized exactly how much work was involved in transforming the space.
The surprise made me momentarily forget I was carrying a heavy chocolate sheet cake whose future was in peril if I could not find a table quickly. My task was to deliver this delicious treat from Pasqualini's Bakery to the annual Community Unity Dinner. Still very new to my job, dropping the cake would not be a good look on me. As usual, some amazing volunteers were on hand to assist and then serve the cake to community members.
One of those volunteers, Sandra Skidmore, graciously gave me a behind the scenes tour of the convention center, reminding me how Sundance worked. We saw the room where Natalie Moss sets up for the silent auction, the VIP room, and the loading dock, and I learned about the timing for bringing in the big auction items. It was all a complicated and carefully orchestrated process, and like many volunteers, Sandra seemed to hold all this knowledge easily in her head. The flowers, the decorations, and of course, the massive disco ball! All very impressive.
That December, just two months into the job, I looked forward to joining the well-oiled machine that is the Sundance team. A couple months later, the world changed, and we learned the room where it all happened would be empty this Labor Day weekend.
Suddenly, Sundance plans went from being familiar and well-rehearsed to being a bit more improvised. I am grateful to our team here at CAMP Rehoboth, rolling with the punches during this (sometimes annoyingly) unprecedented time. And I’m especially grateful to Murray Archibald, Sondra Arkin, and Natalie Moss for leading the effort!
If you are staying at home, we support you and your decision! We will kick off Sundance with a virtual event and end with a special virtual experience on September 5. Throughout the week, we will broadcast Facebook Live from various events. Recordings of these broadcasts will be available shortly after on our YouTube page. If you are staying at home and would like to be a featured guest on one of these events via Zoom, let me know! You can also take part in the Sundance auction, which will happen online. Visit camprehoboth.com to get started.
For those of you who do feel comfortable going out (at a safe social distance), we have some fun smaller activities planned.
- The Sundance 5K will be virtual! Sign up online and run on your own schedule anytime during Sundance week.
- We will partner with Rehoboth Beach Film Society for two great movies at the Cinema Art Theater. Masks are of course required. Learn more about safety measures the theater at RehobothFilm.com
- Some great events are taking place at restaurants around Rehoboth. These are seated restaurant events with limited seating. Please remember to respect the safety guidelines at these establishments.
CAMP Rehoboth has always brought our community together, and I hope that whether you are staying home or venturing out, you enjoy the sense of joy and togetherness that Sundance is known for. I can’t wait for the event, whether it be online or in-person.
And as always, we are incredibly grateful to the hosts, sponsors, and supporters of Sundance who not only make this event possible but allow CAMP Rehoboth to continue to do important work in our community. Recently, one of our CAMP Rehoboth members, Linda Dean, experienced an incident of anti-LGBTQ harassment right here in Rehoboth. It was disappointing to hear of course, but I am grateful that Linda took the time to file a police report and follow up. It is an important reminder of why CAMP Rehoboth started, and why continuing our work here is so very important. Thank you for what you do to make this happen.##