Presented by Social Co Speed Dating
Reviewed 13 March 2020
The concept of speed dating crops up now and then but doesn’t seem to have the same profile as it did a few decades ago. Turns out, it’s still a thing and it works just as well for friendships as it does for finding a potential mate. Given a relationship needs to be based on a solid foundation of friendship, it’s surprising that the idea of The Fringe Social doesn’t occur more often. It takes away the pressure of dating while still setting you up to meet a wide range of wonderfully interesting folk.
Putting the sheer fun of the event aside for a moment, Social Co Speed Dating managed to attract a broad range of individuals for this once-off event, making it a fascinating, exciting and okay, let’s say it, a heaps good event.
Participants were divided between the stayers and goers (my words, not theirs) whereby half stayed put on one side of some long trestle tables, and the others migrated two seats down every five or so minutes for an hour. Despite the noisy environment, the variety of conversations ranged from favourite colours to The Book of Mormon, travel, dancing, work and dreams.
Every station was numbered and included a list of ice-breaker questions for the more socially shy, but after the first round of conversations, none of my companions resorted to using them. Conversations flowed, sometimes as a raucous group with the people beside us, and sometimes as an intense, private conversation about ourselves.
The reasons why people attended were as varied as the people themselves. Some struggled to make friends because of social awkwardness or cultural differences, and some simply wanted to expand their existing circle of friends. Some came as a support for a mate, others just liked to get out and meet people at any opportunity.
Perhaps the most telling sign of success for The Fringe Social was to chat with those who claimed to be socially awkward but then seeing the ease with which they seemed to engage with people after just one or two rounds. Any preconceived notions of who might attend such an event went out the window before it even began. As a safe space where everyone was there for the same reason, that strength in numbers brought out the best in everyone I met.
Long after the end of the hour The Fringe Social organisers had to forcibly end the event to make way for the next company to set up, such was the eagerness of most participants to continue their conversations.
Regardless of one’s reason for going, The Fringe Social gave a reason to stay.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: East Market Pavilion at Gluttony, Rymill Park, Adelaide
Season: 13 March 2020 only. Season ended.
Duration: 1 hour