Wings and beer fuel good political discussion
New Poliwings forum gets rave reviews
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 06:30 pm
Two St. Albert residents may have discovered the secret to getting people interested in politics: beer and chicken wings.
About 14 people turned up at the Celtic Knot Pub Monday night for the first ever St. Albert Poliwings event.
Organized by city residents and political junkies Dana Popadynetz and Kevin Malinowski over the social media tool Twitter, the event was meant to bring locals together to talk about local, provincial and federal politics.
Popadynetz says he first heard about Poliwings six months ago when some Calgary MLAs held a similar event.
“I thought that, given the community we have in St. Albert, it fit perfectly with us,” he said.
After talking about the idea for several weeks, he and Malinowski put out a call on Twitter last Sunday for an informal gathering at the Celtic Knot Pub Monday.
“We got together to have beer, wings and talk about politics.”
As for why he chose beer and chicken as a theme (instead of, say, coffee and doughnuts), Popadynetz says he loves chicken wings and thought the name “Poliwings” had a nice ring to it.
“Nobody was forced to eat chicken wings,” he noted.
Popadynetz says he was impressed by the event’s turnout, which included former city council candidate Ted Durham, federal Conservative nomination candidates Michael Cooper and Ryan Hastman, and current city councillors Cathy Heron and Tim Osborne.
They didn’t have a set format, but ended up with a “musical chairs” setup by which people would wander from group to group to discuss different topics, Popadynetz said.
“The topic du jour was definitely the Patrick Draper lawsuit,” he said, referring to the city manager’s plans to pursue legal action against the St. Albert Third Floor News blog.
Also discussed were various federal and American political topics.
“At one point, the conversation diverted into backyard chickens,” he noted – a hot topic amongst urban farmers in Edmonton and an appropriate one given the wings-and-beer theme.
The conversation was “shockingly calm” despite the subject matter – a calm he attributed to the event’s informal setting.
“It was very positive and fun.”
About six- or seven-dozen chicken wings got devoured during the four-hour event, Popadynetz estimated.
“A good amount of chickens went down for our cause.”
Events like these are a good way to engage residents and get information direct from councillors, Heron said.
“I’m always interested in talking about politics … especially with people who are engaged and follow it regularly,” she said.
Heron said she was impressed by the event’s turnout and hopes other councillors will attend future meetings.
“Beer and wings are always fun.”
Popadynetz says he hopes to make Poliwings a monthly event, with the next meeting scheduled for Aug. 18.