I left New York for BIX (dance festivities) early in the afternoon. New York and then Connecticut traffic crept by, and gradually my predicted arrival time shifted from 2 hours before the dance to 2 hours late to the dance. I wasn't exactly the happiest camper about this, so I swung over to a rest stop so I could call BIX and let the volunteer coordinators know I'd be incredibly late.
The first thing I noticed when I pulled in was the row of signs saying "FREE FOOD." Hm, I thought. I like Connecticut. Further investigation revealed several large tents with people in various military/American insignia grilling hot dogs. "Want a hot dog?" the guy at the grill asked me. "Do I!" I replied, obligingly stuffing my face.
Turns out they're a group of Polish veterans who have been grilling at this rest stop for Memorial Day weekends (they set up Thursday through Sunday) for the past 7 years. The event used to be run by a group of boy scouts, but the boy scouts all got older and outgrew it, so these folks picked it up - 6,000 visitors a day, they said, so at least 3,000 hot dogs, and a few hundred gallons of coffee. Per day. They went to the supermarket, folded down the back seats of their Honda Odysseys, and started flinging bags of hot dog buns into it until the van was full. They grill breakfast sandwiches in the morning, switch up the hotdogs for meatball sandwiches for variety, and otherwise just hang out and feed travelers all weekend, once a year.
What a great idea. It certainly completely made my day... I'm going to have to do this at some point. (I asked how, and they said you had to get permission from the state to camp out and grill at a rest stop - so... excellent. Future adventures shall be had.)
Onwards back to Boston now - hopefully I'll get there in time for some dancing tonight, at least.