Regan Smith and her merry trio of friends want to help you get in touch with your inner child. Just not the way you’d expect.
Imagine: Two teams are playing Capture the Flag in the park on a hot summer afternoon. They’re running around on the grass, shouting and laughing with glee. After the game, they will crack open beers.
Welcome to the Grown-Up Club. While these happenings are for adults and usually entail beer, they’re centered on the joyful elements of childhood. There are old-school yard games, crafty evenings coloring, LEGO nights at brew pubs, and show-and-tell sharing sessions. (One event encouraged participants to bring in art they had created while stoned.)
The group was founded by Taylor Baldry. “He wanted to start a group that was doing events that were kinda ridiculous and primarily participatory,” says Smith (pictured at right with Baldry, center, and Tim Lovett). “There weren’t that many happenings where you could go and do something hands-on and be an active participant rather than a passive audience member.”
The Grown-Up Club began in 2013, the brainchild of Baldry and Victoria Nohl. A year later, Lovett and Smith signed on. Together, they bring simple joys to grown-ups who often forget they need such a thing.
“Generally, we try to do events that first and foremost make us laugh, like the ‘poo emoji’ meetup,” says Smith of a recent gathering where folks bedazzled turd-shaped ornaments with hot glue and glitter. “We thought, ‘We want to do some holiday crafting thing. This year was pretty shitty. Why don’t we make poo emojis?’”
Some events are cozy gatherings of 25 to 30. Others, such as the Casual Science Fair, have attracted as many as 350 people.
The events “bring up that nostalgia that people really connect to,” says Smith. “You don’t really get to do that weird stuff anymore, because it feels like when you’re an adult generally most of the ways you spend your time needs to have an express purpose.”
This year, the trio plan to bring more innocent joy to bars and parks near you. Last weekend Sisyphus Brewing hosted Tryorama, a diorama fair and competition. They’re also continuing the Singles Exchange, a slightly more grown-up night where friends try to hook up their single friends by giving PowerPoint presentations on them.
“We’re not trying to be OKCupid. There’s no algorithm or science to it,” she says. “It’s really just an opportunity to a) get creative in making the PowerPoint presentation, and b) to celebrate your friends.”
The more ridiculous the concept, the better.
“There are a million ‘go and network and meet people events,’ but there aren’t a million making poo emojis events,” says Smith. “We try to do things that we aren’t seeing other people doing.”