Antrim PTO begins preparing for 2020 Holiday Cooks Tour

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — G. Harold Antrim Elementary School PTO has begun planning for its Holiday Cooks Tour, held annually on the first Saturday in December to raise money for Antrim Elementary. 

This year’s 20th annual tour, on Dec. 5, with a rain date the following day, holds special importance to the PTO, which has had fewer opportunities to raise funds due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With the cancellation of the Seafood Festival, we lost a major opportunity to sell tickets and are doing everything we can to catch up,” said event chair Paul Werner, adding that the PTO often sells around 400 tickets that day. 

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To help compensate, the PTO is selling electronic tickets at antrimcookstour.eventbrite.com. Tickets cost $65.

As always, the tour will feature local cuisine and spectacular design, as well as opportunities to win gift baskets and participate in a 50-50 raffle.

“This year, because it’s the 20th anniversary of the tour, we’re doing 20 years of holiday memories,” Mr. Werner said. Each home will be decorated to represent that particular family’s holiday memories.

“It’s a food and Christmas tour, they get to see the decorations, they get to taste the food from the local restaurants,” said Mr. Werner.

But attendees will also see some changes meant to comply with coronavirus safety protocols, according to Mr. Werner.

The tour will be held entirely outside compared to normal years where stations and decorations are set throughout the homes. The 10 featured homes will be decorated with holiday lights and local restaurants will serve small bites for guests. 

“Fortunately we’ve been lucky that homeowners and restaurant owners have been willing to work with us even though it’s in a modified arrangement,” said Mr. Werner. 

Organizers will use designated ticket windows for the event, 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m.

“It’s all designed to give an increased comfort level to folks so that if we were to sell a lot of tickets, we’re not going to have hundreds and hundreds of people standing on top of each other all at the same time, all at the same place,” said Mr. Werner.

The PTO has been working directly with Ocean County Health Department, Point Beach Police and Mayor Paul Kanitra to work out the safest way to hold the tour. 

“We designed it so they can enter the area at one end of the block, walk past the house decorations, buy a 50-50 ticket, see the prize baskets, get a bite to eat and sort of move through to the end of the block to keep people from being on top of each other,” said Mr. Werner.

The event will be capped at around 400 people per session spread throughout the 10 homes on the tour to keep within the governor’s orders.

The tour will fund the PTO’s Wishlist giving for teachers at Antrim who ask for classroom materials to aid them in their teaching. 

“Especially this year, things are so crazy in the school and resources diminished, my guess is that teachers are going to have lots of wish list items,” said Mr. Werner. 

For more information on this year’s tour visit antrimcookstour.com.

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