Monterey Recreation Centre and Victoria People Meeting People come together in a bit of a Holly-Daze Dec. 18.
The party is a perfect blend two decades in the making.
The PMP group formed in 1983 and by the time Alice Pitman joined in 1989 they were holding an event a week and had outgrown the Ukrainian hall in Victoria.
“The have picnics, they dance, do barbecues, they do Christmas dances,” said Pitman.
As group dynamics changed, different venues included the Esquimalt Legion and Crystal Garden.
“We joined ventures with Monterey to put on big parties,” said Pitman, a Victoria resident. For nearly two decades now, they’ve worked with Monterey Recreation Centre to host small events twice a month and two big events each year. They hope to expand on that next year.
“It increases audience both ways. It’s a really favourable partnership,” said Joanne Donohue, Monterey Recreation Programmer. “People Meeting People doesn’t restrict their membership to 50-plus, but a lot of people are.”
This year the dinner, dance-social Holly-Daze is Dec. 18 at Monterey with entertainment by MC2.
“That is open to the public and will be a lot of fun,” Donohue said.
Membership doubled and walk-ins are routine now. They draw members from as far afield as Sooke to Oak Bay locals like Ken Agate.
“We’re a good fit, we seem to be good for each other,” agreed Agate, PMP president. “They do their part very well. They provide a good meal and they provide good service with enthusiastic volunteers and an excellent venue.”
The dinner portion of the evening includes apple cranberry stuffed pork with cranberry glaze and apple thyme gravy, garlic spinach mashed potatoes, a garlic medley of carrots and beans, fresh rolls and coffee or tea, with caramel pecan cheesecake for dessert.
“We do these a few times a year,” Agate said. “It’s nice to keep our membership fresh – we do like new people to come.”
PMP doesn’t have an age restriction for membership.
“We have also started to see some younger people join,” Pitman said.
They run a few line dances to get the singles on the dance floor. And anyone can ask anyone to dance, there’s no judgment in this crowd, they say.
“It’s different than other dance clubs in that it’s a social dance club. People don’t have to take lessons,” said Mike Couture.
“People dance at all different levels, no one’s judging,” Pitman added.
The men and women split tends toward 50-50 and couples and singles routinely mingle.
“Yes, you meet people,” Pitman said. “But for me it’s the exercise instead of another night in front of the television.”
The Holly-Daze Dinner and Dance is Dec. 18 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“We’ve tweaked something that was already good bringing in dancers and upgraded entertainment,” Agate said. “The value is really good too, it’s not expensive and that’s important.”
Tickets are $23 for members and $27 for non‐members available at the centre, 1442 Monterey Ave.