Each year, Jodi Rankin puts together Mitzvah Magic events, where dozens of vendors and hundreds of families walk through the Minnetonka Community Center, collecting business cards and food samples while checking out what’s on the cutting edge of the B’nai Mitzvah party scene.
And then, like with everything else, COVID happened.
“You feel so bad for everybody. What a heartbreak,” said Rankin. “[The industry] has been decimated.”
But with a glimmer of hope for the end of this period of time and the return to in-person events, Rankin, who owns Twin City Mitzvahs, is bringing Mitzvah Magic is back as a COVID-safe, drive-thru event. The event is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, April 11, and is being held at the Minneapolis Marriot West under the vestibule by the front door. Registration for the time slot to drive in is free, but is required; she is capping the attendance to around 120 cars.
“We’re definitely going to have fewer in-person vendors,” she said. “We have so many cool people, but the challenge is having the right mix. I’m piping music into cars, the swag bags will be chock full of whatever we can get in there. We’re going to have a party with what we’ve got. That’s what I think is really important.”
Rankin said that she’s seen the industry learn a lot about how things can be different in a post-COVID world.
“The industry has had some great pivots,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot about what you can do and what you can’t do, what you want to do and what you don’t want to do.”
The event is certainly going to be a different type of one for Rankin.
“I am putting myself out on the biggest limb because I’ve never done it. Why would I ever do a drive-thru event?” she said. “But we’re all sick of the digital space, and I’ve seen a lot of these mitzvah people do digital Q and As, but do we really want to sit in front of the screen one more time? If we can sit in cars, why can’t we experience some level of smile?”
The event will be mask-mandatory, and it won’t be the same level of schmoozing that it was in the past. But Rankin hopes it’s the start of what’s to come.
“However you do it is amazing,” she said. “But I feel like it’s time to get the party started safely.”