A progressive dinner for history

Here’s the “progressive” part of the progressive dinners! You walk between four different downtown condos for the four courses. This is our group walking east on Church Avenue headed toward the dessert course at The Glencoe condos at the corner of Church Avenue and State Street, facing State Street. The walking also makes you feel a little less guilty about the calories you are consuming!

A group of downtown friends has been hosting progressive dinners for more than 10 years now. It started as a way to enjoy each others’ condos and invite guests to come see what downtown living was like. We usually had a “target” person or couple we were trying to recruit into moving downtown and we used these dinners to try to entice them!

Last year, we came up with another idea. We began offering these little moveable repasts to non-profits that we supported to auction off to raise money. So far, we have done this for the Knoxville Symphony League twice, the Knoxville Botanical Garden twice, and the East Tennessee Historical Society once. This post will show you our latest, held last month for the Historical Society.

We’ve decided to take a little break from the charity offerings for a while and go back to our purely selfish purposes. But, here’s the good news. Other folks are picking up the idea. We know that a group has signed up to put one together for the Symphony League’s upcoming “Elegant Dining” series. I know I’m going to try to snag a ticket! It will be fun seeing it from the other side!

First stop for appetizers was at The Elliott, where Cliff and Jacque Hawks live. It’s at the intersection of Church Avenue and State Street, facing Church. From left, hosts Bruce Anderson, Alan Carmichael, and Monique Anderson; guests Anthony Wilson and Tyler Janow; and hosts Jacque Hawks and Gay Lyons.

From left, guests Todd Cramer, Ernie Hoskins and Eric Elliott.

From left, guests Nikki and Eric Elliott, Kathy Boyd, Cynthia Gibson, and host Bill Lyons.

You wouldn’t believe the spread of appetizers Jacque put out! Clockwise, from top left: chilled tomato soup shots with truffle oil; lightly pickled peaches with prosciutto, basil and mozzarella pearls; shrimp ceviche in cucumber cups; cheddar Parmesan crackers; and cucumber/dill stuffed cherry tomatoes. Yum!

And there were beautiful flowers!

Alan and I slipped away and headed to the J.C. Penney Building where we set out the salad course.

Our flowers were from Sevier Blumen at the Market Square Farmers’ Market.

To me, nothing says summer like shrimp salad.

They made it!

Some hosts relaxing while the guests enjoyed their salads. Bill and Gay Lyons departed to prepare for the next stop, which was at their place.

Host Cliff Hawks.

Everyone seemed happy.

And then, time to roll! We headed to the Lyons’ place at The Overlook, 600 W. Hill Avenue.

Gay was in the kitchen!

Everybody made it! From left, Ernie Hoskins, Kathy Boyd, and Bill Lyons, whose job it was to welcome everyone and pour wine.

Cynthia Gibson and Bruce Anderson.

Cliff Hawks, left, and Todd Cramer.

Jacque Hawks, left, and Monique Anderson.

Nikki Elliott with Anthony Wilson, left, and Tyler Janow.

Gay with Tyler, left, and Eric.

Time to be seated!

Over the years the guys have learned to be great servers.

Serve from the left; remove from the right!

Bruce has great form!

Cliff’s turn.

Gay explained what everyone was eating.

Which was eggplant ratatouille, Mediterranean rice, and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

While the guests were eating, we hosts enjoyed our “staff” dinner. Gay had made us a zucchini lasagna and I brought salad.

All my fellow hosts.

After dinner cuddles with Simba!

This is the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet!

You can’t go to Gay and Bill’s without taking in the view! Here’s looking west at the Henley Bridge.

A view to the east.

All our guests.

I LOVED Cynthia Gibson’s cute purse, a gift from her daughter! (I also love martinis!)

But, time to hit the road again!

We headed back to next door to where we had started: The Elliott, located at the corner of Church Avenue and State Street, but facing Church.

Monique and Bruce had the beautiful dessert table ready.

Monique was in the kitchen.

Where she had made these delicious blueberry hand pies!

Which were served with vanilla ice cream.


Monique made a few remarks.

And dinner was a wrap!

We relaxed in the living room for a few minutes.

After wine at every course, folks are pretty mellow!

Todd posed for me on the porch. That’s First Presbyterian Church across State Street. Knoxville’s first church.

Thanks so, so much to our wonderful guests. And my fellow hosts. It’s always great to combine fun and fundraising!









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8 Responses to A progressive dinner for history

  1. Mohamed Abbas, on September 8th, 2023 at 3:05 pm said:

    That’s awesome! Now I may want to move downtown! lol

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on September 8th, 2023 at 3:07 pm said:

    Moe: We would love to have you!!

  3. Madeline Greer, on September 8th, 2023 at 3:13 pm said:

    Wow! Just wow! Your place looked stunning. Thanks for sharing this beautiful evening.

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on September 8th, 2023 at 4:07 pm said:

    Madeline: Thanks so much! We had a great time and were happy to do it.

  5. Gay Lyons, on September 8th, 2023 at 4:12 pm said:

    I love our progressives! Thanks to fellow hosts for joining with Bill & me to donate this progressive dinner for 8 at Biscuits & Bubbly in May 2023 to benefit the East Tennessee Historical Society. Thanks to our guests for being the high bidders–bidding against each other before deciding to join forces. I’m proud of the money we’ve raised for ETHS, the Knoxville Symphony, and the Botanical Garden, but it’s time for a break. How great that others are adopting the progressive dinner model.

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on September 8th, 2023 at 4:15 pm said:

    Gay: We have a great group of hosts who work well together! I think that’s why it’s been so much fun and so successful. I can’t wait to be a guest! (But I still want to be a host sometimes, too!) Thanks for all you’ve done over all the years!

  7. Kathy Brennan, on September 15th, 2023 at 10:45 am said:

    I had the privilege of attending one of the dinners ❣️

    Fun! Fabulous! Delicious! Great food! Lovely Hosts and Homes❣️

    Thank you, Kathy

  8. Cynthia Moxley, on September 15th, 2023 at 10:52 am said:

    Kathy: We loved hosting the Symphony League dinners! Great folks and great fun! Thanks for participating!

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