Last Sunday, Dan and I experienced our first time organizing a meet-up for the SoCal Smarties. It was hard work! Rewarding, but stressful.
Dan's parents have owned two Smarts, including the first right-hand drive in Europe bought in 2002. The experience that they have had owning Smarts is a big part of the reason that we decided to try the brand. When we found out that they would be visiting us, we wanted to make sure that they could attend a meet-up and see our local Smart Car club.
We themed it to Dan's parents and used the event name, The British are Coming, which was thought up by Patti, one of the group leaders. Patti and Bob were a huge help guiding us through our first time as organizers. Thanks!
We asked Dan's parents to bring over Cadbury Chocolate, which is different from the American Cadbury Chocolate. The American version has wax in it to keep it from melting. The British version is creamy and delicious.
The night before the meet, I baked several batches of fruit scones from a recipe in Jaime Oliver's Jaime's Food Revolution cookbook. The scones were a bit of a gamble. I'd never made them before and I even tweaked some of the instructions. However, they turned out fabulous! I highly recommend this cookbook as all of the recipes as that I've tried are easy and they have turned out great. The morning of the meet, Dan and his mother made a bowl of fresh cream to pile on the scones. They seemed to be a big hit.
At ten am, we met the rest of the group in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railway Museum. We spent about an hour conversing and eating the treats that we brought. It's always fun to see all of the different Smart cars. There is a lot of creativity and modifications with the cars in our group.
The LA Live Steamers is a non-profit organization that is open to the public on Sundays for rides on their 7 1/2 gauge model trains. This had nothing to do with our British theming, but we thought that it would be a fun activity for the group.
Our group was spread across the first three train rides of the day.
The owner of the train that Dan rode kindly let us attach a Go-Pro camera to the front of the train. You can see how long the track is from the footage. It's a great deal for a three dollar donation.
After riding the train, we headed over to the Walt Disney Barn, which is only open on the third Sunday of every month. The Disney Barn is an amazing place for both train and Disney fans. For Disney fans, they have big name guest stopping by the barn every month. I can't reveal who will be there, but there will be a big celebrity stopping by the barn in March. The "who" will be announced on their website in a few weeks, keep an eye out!
At noon, we embarked on our scenic drive through Griffith Park and Hollywood. Dan led a nearly hour long drive and we had many pedestrians pull out their cell phones to take pictures of our convoy. We had lots of smiles, waves and looks of disbelief as we drove towards the English Pub for lunch.
Lunch was at the Robin Hood British Pub in Sherman Oaks.
The weekend before the meet, Dan and I had lunch at the pub and spoke with the event coordinator, Jerry, about reserving a space for our large group. Jerry and the staff at Robin Hood were excellent with our group. They joined together a huge table in the dining room and even created individual checks. It was a lot of work, but our server was friendly and competent. I would not hesitate to recommend the Robin Hood British Pub for large group functions.
We enjoyed watching Dan's parents interact with the group, especially their giving advice on British menu items. Everyone was a good sport for coming out and trying new things. I took a few pictures of the Smarts in the pub parking lot.
Our first time as event planners was a success!