Tucked back in the Village at Worman’s Mill in Frederick is a weekend outdoor dining event complete with live music, shade and enough room to social distance.
For Kim Lenta of Frederick and her family, the outdoor event this past weekend serves as a chance to get out of the house.
“It just was a beautiful spot to come and have some fresh air and some music and still socially distance and not have to worry about cooking ourselves and try a new winery,” she said. “It’s just really nice to get out, honestly, and be outside for a little while.”
Lenta said it was her first time at the event but that it wouldn’t be her last. She also said she feels it’s important for events like this to be held so that communities can continue to gather in a safe way.
“It’s just good for people to get out,” she said. “Yet, I do think everybody still needs to be respectful of social distancing, so there’s enough space here to do so … as long as you can keep that distance still, I think it’s really nice.”
The outdoor dining event hosted by the Village at Worman’s Mill, a community that includes shops and residences for people 55 and older, started in late June and is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. It will run through late September.
Restaurants like Plaza Mexico, Sweet & Savory Bake Shop and The Corner Shoppe are available for carry out, and rotating food trucks such as The Sauced Savage and Whistle Punk Farm Food Truck and rotating vendors such as Mazzaroth Winery provide food and craft beverages.
Jasmine Sneed, event and marketing director at the Village at Worman’s Mill, said the idea came about after other events were canceled due to COVID-19.
“As we were evaluating … the mentality and the opportunities for what folks wanted to do and what was safe, we realized that we had a beautiful venue to expand outdoor dining,” she said.
They brought in the food trucks to help supplement the existing businesses and provide for visitors. And with music and food taken care of, Sneed said they reached out to the craft beverage community.
The overall goal was simply providing a place for people to gather in a way that was comfortable, Sneed said.
“You can come at your own speed,” she said. “To the degree that you are comfortable interacting with other people.”
People can attend by themselves and bring their own food and drinks or come with others and spend time safely outside. And Sneed said everyone from visitors to performers have said how grateful they are to be able to come out, gather and share.
“To provide a place for people to gather is so important and I think it’s even more important than it was pre-COVID,” Sneed said.
Like Lenta, Scott Beall of Thurmont was at the event for the first time Sunday and said he didn’t know about the area before. He heard about the event from his neighbor, owner of The Sauced Savage food truck.
“The whole deal’s very nice,” he said. “Nice breeze and the food’s very good and we’re going to walk around and look at the other stuff here later.”
Beall said people want to get out.
“I think it’s very important myself,” he said. “I just think it’s a very nice place, very beautiful.”
Micki and Garry Cohen of Mazzaroth Vineyard in Middletown were vendors at the event both Friday and Sunday, providing a red and white wine that people could sample and purchase.
Micki Cohen said they sell wine at a couple farmers markets and that recently they were approached, told about the event and asked if they would be interested.
“It’s really wonderful,” she said. “This is a beautiful area that I didn’t even know was here and the people are really, really friendly. They’re very receptive to all of the vendors that are here.”
Cohen said it’s important to have events where the community can gather but continue to social distance and have the option to sit where they want.
“Especially because of what’s going on right now, to know that you can sit outside, six feet away, enjoy music, enjoy good food, enjoy really good wine,” she said.