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DAAC’s Corks & Forks aiming to be the ‘social distancing event of the spring’

The Corks & Forks foodie event has been a highlight of Decatur’s spring season social calendar for two decades. The 2020 edition of Corks & Forks was scheduled for April 30 at the Decatur Conference Center & Hotel from 6:30-9:30 pm — and like everything everyone was looking forward to, it got derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sort of. Once social distancing requirements made an actual gathering impossible, the Decatur Area Arts Council quickly revamped its main annual fundraiser into a live broadcast. Different format, same date and time.

“We reason if our community cannot come out to Corks & Forks, we’ll deliver Corks & Forks to our community,” says DAAC Executive Director Jerry Johnson.

DAAC is pitching the event as a cross between a telethon and a Today Show-style morning network gabfest, co-hosted by Johnson and another local personality — Jayson Albright, creative services director at the Children’s Museum of Illinois.

The broadcast will feature segments on wine and food tastings, plus live art, music, and games viewers can play in real time, with real prizes. With the coronavirus crisis being the ever-changing situation that it is, the organizers are on their toes, and if for some reason guests can’t be present at the Madden Arts Center, they will be prepared to join in by Skype.

The event’s beverage partner, Famous Wine & Spirits on Mt Zion Road, provided an official list of suggested wines. Those planning to join the virtual event are encouraged to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy during the broadcast, along with a meal from a local restaurant. Of course you don’t need to live in the Decatur area to enjoy the show, but if you do live there, here’s a list of event partners offering curbside pickup.

While acknowledging that Virtual Corks & Forks is a “for now” event rather than a replacement for the real thing, Johnson says it’s “more important than ever to come together as a community and support one another when and where we can.”

And where can you watch the event? Here are your options:

Sergio Barreto

Written by Sergio Barreto

Sergio's American life began as an exchange student in Lincoln, IL. After more than 20 years living up North, writing for outlets such as The Chicago Reader, organizing & promoting cultural events and what-not, he had it with the big city and moved back to Central Illinois. He currently edits financial newsletters, in addition to designing and maintaining websites like this one.

Decatur Area Arts Council

DAAC education grants still on track; deadline is May 1