Late Saturday early morning, Diane Compact was enjoying conductor to an orchestra of close friends and volunteers gathered in her backyard on Madison’s South Side as the team geared up for an yearly celebration recognizing the turnaround of the as soon as-troubled, former Simpson Avenue neighborhood.
She directed persons to gift baggage needing to be completed, assigned volunteers to foodstuff-serving obligations and handed out banners that experienced to be hung. With the COVID-19 pandemic rebounding — driven by the additional contagious delta variant — it was not back to usual for the Simpson Road Greatest Families Reunion.
The 12th once-a-year function, which is structured by Little, served up barbecue sandwiches, baked beans and new music like it would have if held at the standard location in Monona’s Aspiration Park. But this year, the meals came with a aspect of a pop-up vaccination clinic and gift bags made up of toiletries this kind of as hand sanitizer and deal with masks.
“If we do not choose it significant, then we’re just participating in games,” Smaller explained of the pandemic. “I never want to participate in online games with people’s life.”
This year’s reunion was set up in drive-thru trend. Persons pulled into the parking ton of Antler’s Tavern on West Broadway to obtain gift baggage, a to-go container of foodstuff and the option to pull in excess of for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Trying to keep the event likely in a risk-free way was vital to Small, who has watched the neighborhood around the previous Simpson Street (renamed Lake Level Drive) renovate considering the fact that relocating her relatives to Madison from the Chicago place in 1989.