It wasn’t your usual First Thursday in Del Ray, as hundreds of residents celebrated the monthly community ritual by social distancing with a beach-themed party on their respective front porches.
The theme this month was a beach party, and children played with their parents in their front yards as other neighbors carried conversations over safe distances, talking about the latest goings-on during the collective experience that is the coronavirus pandemic.
Usually on First Thursday, Mount Vernon Avenue would be packed and Pat Miller Square would be cordoned off for a live musical performance, and crowds of residents and visitors would spend hours in shops, restaurants and eating at tables.
Erica and Adam Zajac are both working at home while taking care of their two kids in their house on E. Custis Avenue.
“I think that it’s been incredible just to be in this scenario, where there’s a lot of children,” Erica told ALXnow. “It’s it’s just such a blessing to have this type of community, particularly for First Thursday. We actually did this on Cinco de Mayo, too, on Tuesday.”
Their neighbors — all five members of the Dunham family — were also glad to get some fresh air.
“When you’re able to share your experiences and speak with your neighbors through the ups and the downs, to know that they’re there and everyone’s going through different but a similar experience just makes things easier,” Anna Dunham said. “This street does a really good job of keeping things. Last Saturday we had a derby party and two kids raced each other around the block with hobby horses.”
Just then, Dunham’s four-year-old daughter interrupted and said, “Did you hear? The coronavirus is gone!”
“Gone?” her mother replied. “You just declared it gone? Well, good news!”
Dunham then said, “It’s been challenging. It’s a lot of people in small spaces, and we’re grateful to be together and to have everybody healthy. Being outside definitely helps.”