Newcomers, new and old, celebrate the holidays
Park City resident Mike Troy moved to town in December of 2014 after his wife passed away. He said he just didn’t want to be in California anymore. His sister, Marianne Cahalan, lived in Park City, and he’d visited enough times to know he liked the town. So, that’s where he went. And one of the first things he did after arriving was to sign up with the Newcomers Club of Greater Park City.
"I joined as soon as I got here," he said. "I was looking to meet people and find something to do, because I really didn’t know anybody other than my sister. And then I convinced her and my cousin to join."
The Newcomers Club held a holiday brunch for its membership at Park City Community Church this week, with more than 100 people in attendance. There was delicious food and live music from the Treble Makers — Troy said it was exactly the kind of thing that got him to join in the first place.
"When I play cards with the bridge club and the canasta club, the women I play with are out of this world," he said. "But I’m the only guy. So this party was nice because I met a lot of husbands."
Cahalan has lived in Park City for 15 years but said she never attended a newcomers event until her brother convinced her to check it out. Now, she said, she is hooked.
"There’s a lot of fun people and there’s a lot of fun stuff to do," she said. "And they organize everything so it makes it really easy for us to join in group activities, because they’re all arranged for you."
Troy said the club keeps him busy, and Cahalan said even a longtime Parkite like herself finds it valuable.
"In fact, Mike and I are going to the bowling group next week," she said. "We haven’t tried that yet."
Dona Fairbairn, who served as president of the Newcomers Club in 2011, said like many of the members she moved to Park City not knowing many people.
"I didn’t expect to move," she said. "It was 2007, and it was my husband’s work that brought us here. And I think, at our age, when you don’t have little kids at home — how do you meet people? With the newcomers, suddenly I had this wonderful group of friends."
Fairbairn got involved with the club within a few months of arriving in town and quickly moved into leadership roles. She said after eight years of membership, she has no intention of leaving.
"The club helps you form a social circle, and then you branch out to other things from there," she said. "You’re constantly meeting new people, really interesting people. Plus, it’s a link to seeing your old friends all the time."
Anne Frank, co-president of the Newcomers Club, said she shares Fairbairn’s story. Frank and her husband moved to Park City from Texas four years ago and she knew no one here. She decided to attend a newcomers coffee get-together and her involvement grew from there. Even just in her four years, she said, the group has grown and expanded so much.
"Our membership is now close to 300 households, so that’s about 500 individual members," she said. "We’ve expanded our activities this year, too. We have a new photography group, we have a bunco group, we do yoga now in conjunction with Basin Rec. We have a fine-dining group, a wine-tasting group. Those are all new."
Frank said the growth seems to happen organically.
"It’s really rewarding. New members will join the group and say, ‘Oh, you don’t have a photography group? Let’s start one,’" she said. "We’ll try pretty much anything. So as long as that new group is being supported, it goes on."
Frank said she is excited about where the Newcomers Club is headed.
"We had a record number of people at our membership luncheon in September, and so many people here today," she said. "I think it speaks to the quality of the events we put on but also how important this group is in not only making new friendships but also nurturing the friendships you’ve had over the years."
For more information, visit ParkCityNewcomers.org.
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“The Park City Fire District chief said it is unlikely but not impossible the area will ever suffer a wildfire like the terrible Camp Fire that struck Paradise, California, in 2018.”