The presidential election is this year’s biggest event—and so far, it has been a roller-coaster. For this year’s Progressive Dinner, St. Gregory’s flagship fundraiser and dining event, the theme is inspired by the energy—and sometimes the entertainment factor—surrounding this year’s election.

“Certainly there is a lot of non-traditional excitement in the election cycle this year, so why not turn that into a dinner?” says Arely Cox, event chair. “We chose to call it the Election Excitement Progressive Dinner to reflect that enthusiasm.”

The March 5 dinner is election-inspired from start to finish. The “voters” will begin the evening at a “polling location” (to be revealed in the coming weeks) to enjoy appetizers, wine, and champagne. “This is a time for fellowship as a large group,” Arely explains. Each “voter” will receive a commemorative wine glass and an envelope that reveals their dinner location or “party,” along with directions and other important information.

Stephen Von Oehsen describes the sparkling wine at the 2015 Progressive Dinner.

Stephen Von Oehsen describes the sparkling wine at the 2015 Progressive Dinner.

“There is a bit of mystery to it,” Arely says. “Voters will know ahead of time where to gather, but they won’t know where they’ll go to eat until they get to the polling location.”

Voters will land at various election-inspired locations, typically a parishioner’s home: the Red Meat Caucus, the BBQ Debates, or the Wild Salmon Primary, to name a few. Each dinner is donated by generous St. Gregory’s parishioners, meaning that all funds raised through the Progressive Dinner will go to ministries at St. Gregory’s.

“We will have zero overhead, so St. Gregory’s gets to have 100 percent of those funds to use accordingly and apply to our ministries,” Arely says. “St. Gregory’s is so remarkable in its community outreach, and this dinner helps fund those efforts.”

The dinner line-up is already impressive, but Arely stresses that the organizing committee is still asking for additional dinner hosts to accommodate what promises to be a large crowd. Hosts can personalize dinners according to their home size and culinary ability. Some hosts prepare the entire meal, while others have it catered. Some hold the meal in their homes, while others have it in a club house or local restaurant.

Hosting a dinner isn’t the only way to contribute. Generous donors have also stepped forward to provide wine, commemorative wine glasses, valet parking, and dessert. “What’s nice is that so many people can get into this,” Arely says. “People are saying, what can I do to enhance the experience?”

Speaking of dessert, voters will receive information about the “exit poll,” or dessert location, while at dinner. The “exit poll” allows for reflection on the evening and additional fellowship time as a large group.

A scene from last year's Progressive Dinner.

A scene from last year’s Progressive Dinner.

All St. Gregory’s members are invited to the Election Excitement Progressive Dinner, as well as their family and friends. The event is also a great option for entertaining visitors. “It’s such a different and fun evening, a great alternative to going to a restaurant like any other night,” Arely says.

Another exciting element is the chance to meet new friends. Groups can sign up to attend the same dinner, but chances are there will also be “voters” that guests have never met. “People enjoy it because of this format. They can get to know each other on a more intimate level and meet new friends,” Arley says. “You aren’t sure who will be there, but we will also share the love of St. Gregory’s and will have that in common.”

Voters have a better chance of being assigned to the party of their choice by signing up early. To view a printable invitation with further details, click here.