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Catering in Minnesota (MN)

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Taking the Stress Out of the Office Party

by: Stefanie Rose Miles

There’s a growing holiday trend among businesses of all types--from the newspaper office around the corner to the national headquarters in a high rise downtown.  The All-American Thanksgiving tradition has extended beyond home and family and become a cause for celebration at the office.  For many, this is the new occasion for the annual, corporate holiday party.  It’s not a rejection of Christmas; in fact, it may be more out of respect for all of the December holidays of faith celebrated across the country.  In keeping with the true tradition, corporate Thanksgiving parties provide an opportunity for everyone to come together and commend the contributions of each for the benefit of all.  And at the heart of every celebration—the ritual that brings people together—sharing a meal. 

So, you’ve decided on a Thanksgiving party at the office this year.  Don’t make one of the most common mistakes and assume that using a caterer couldn’t possibly be something you (or your company) could afford. If you haven’t organized or executed a similar type of party, then planning and budgeting for such an event will be a challenge, to say the least.  And if you’re trying to piece the party food together, well that’s just the beginning. There are logistics from start to finish, plus other things you’re likely not to think of until you realize you don’t have them. Now put a number on all that.  If you understand the notion that “too many cooks spoil the broth” then consider how too many co-workers, expected to fully cater, could end up costing far more than just hiring the pros.  Can it be done?  Yes.  But plan on multiplying the unknowns, adding the forgotten items, and tacking on chaotic coordination.  Feeling stressed?  It’s not even the Christmas season yet!  For these reasons (and more) we will share in this article why a catered, corporate Thanksgiving party is the way to go.  It can be done for all types of businesses with a wide range of budgets. 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CATERERb2ap3_thumbnail_tolia_56209813_XS.jpg

A good caterer will work with you to tailor party fare to suit all your guests.  Perhaps late afternoon is slow at your office, making hors d’oeuvres and cocktails the best choice. Or maybe breakfast is a better time-- before the demands of the day get in full swing and everyone’s running in and out and in all directions.  Will it be traditional turkey?  You may need ham as an alternative.  Don’t forget your vegetarian friends!  The best caterers can do home-cooked, comfort food just as easily as they can do cutting edge, fusion gourmet. 

Something you may not have considered is that generally, caterers do/can provide barware, tableware, and silverware; but they usually offer provisions for these needs in disposable and/or recyclable options.  They show up, set up, keep things warm (if needed) and replenished while they serve it all up.  Then they clean up, pack up, and not only make your and everyone else’s lives easier, they allow you to be a gracious host and everyone to have fun during the party.  

Ok, so you got it, you’re sold on how a catered corporate Thanksgiving party makes the most sense, but you just can’t stretch the budget to cover the per person cost you want, even with the most basic menu.  Share the idea with co-workers and see what the overall response is.  If you can offer to cover half the cost per person, that shows your appreciation for them and your desire to celebrate that in an exceptional way.  Far and away, employees are more than happy to pitch in around $10 for an office party with good food they don’t have to cook (and all that goes with that) and to get to knock off a couple of work hours.  If you and/or others feel something is missing by not having that potluck participation, the perfect compromise is leaving dessert for the office bakers extraordinaire.  Get them in on the act by giving them ownership of this tasty task by having them coordinate a dessert menu.  They can choose the items and organize who’s doing what. 

DOING THE THANKS b2ap3_thumbnail_Fotolia_46102732_XS.jpg

You’ve checked off the biggest and most important item on your party list—the food.  You’re doing it up right, now you want to make sure you have maximum participation.  Be sure you’ve chosen the best location to provide adequate seating, plenty of space for the food, and for any and all other things/activities you wish to have during the party.  Set the tone and expectations and get everyone excited about the bash by sending out fun invitations (we recommend the easier, less formal email invites) that reflect the tone and style you envision.   Include all pertinent information, necessary details, and request an RSVP by a set date.  Most all caterers require a final, close-guess number of guests before your event date.  

You’ve chosen your party space, now you should plot and plan all tables, chairs, special party activity areas and plan your decor.  Depending on your event and budget, your caterer may provide tablecloths.  Alternatively, you may want to choose and purchase disposable table covers that correspond to your chosen theme and colors.  Traditional Thanksgiving decor can be both easy and elegant.  Collections of colorful, autumn foliage with squashes, pumpkins, and/or Indian corn make great centerpieces and accents.  For a little twist and sophistication try oversized, decorative, glass containers of varying heights and group them in clusters.  Fill them with cinnamon sticks and a variety of nuts in their shells (e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and/or buckeyes.)  Integrate dried or real, whole cranberries and maybe some pine trimmings or fresh mint for color.  We also like decorating with magnolia leaves, white candles or votives, apples of any kind, pomegranates (whole or cut open), and oranges or tangerines pierced with whole cloves.  Just be aware of leaking juices if you pierce and display citrus fruits.

Active appreciation is a must for every company Thanksgiving party.  What you choose to do or offer, should be determined by the time of day of your party, your venue accommodations or limitations, the number of guests, and their collective, anticipated level of engagement.  One popular thing many companies do is to ask employees to write one or more brief thank-yous to other co-workers on post-it notes and display them on a “Thank You Wall” in a central location or high-profile area within the party.  For something similar, we suggest asking each co-worker to write what they appreciate about the others on slips of paper, or if there are too many people, have everyone draw names.  Have a small decorative box or some receptacle labeled with each co-worker’s name, and ask everyone puts his/her notes in the corresponding boxes.  Everyone has a party favor of, personal, appreciation notes. Still too many people?  Make a power point, and on each page put one or more names with something that is uniquely appreciated about them, either written by you or others and play it on a loop on a big screen during the party.   

DOING THE GIVING b2ap3_thumbnail_thanksgiving-2911504__340.jpg

Ask everyone to email you a favorite recipe—Thanksgiving or otherwise, and you can print and distribute or compile and send digitally as a book or recipe document.  Maybe you want to do a community service project and have everyone bring non-perishable items to donate to a food bank or request coats for a winter coat drive.  You could kick off the holiday season and invite everyone to choose an angel from an angel tree for whom they will purchase a holiday gift.  Another idea is to assemble care packages during a designated time.  Many VA hospitals see patients on a daily basis who are there for a full day of appointments, to be seen by numerous doctors. These veterans often are unable to get lunch due to these schedules, so care packages with some non-perishable snacks are in need and most appreciated.  There are also plenty of opportunities to make and send care packages to various branches of the military across the world.

A fun game or two is always a hit among co-workers.  Do you remember MadLibs?  Have someone creative write a very short story about the office, then pick out keywords to replace with a blank, requesting the corresponding type word (i.e. noun, verb, adjective.)  You may even want to get a bit more specific with those generic requests just to add humor.  Read it at the end and let everyone vote for the best answer for each of the blanks and then read the story in its entirety, filling in the blanks with the winner words.  

No party is complete without music.  You can kick off the season with a compilation of holiday songs to play throughout the party or at least during the meal and social time.  if you’re not quite ready for full-fledged sounds of the season, have fun with it and make a party playlist of your own.  If you’re going with a “Thank you” theme, we can get you started with some of our favorite tunes:  Thank You (Sly and the Family Stone), How Sweet It Is (James Taylor), Thank You (ZZ Top), Kind and Generous (Natalie Merchant), Thank You for Lovin’ Me (Bon Jovi), Thankful (Kelly Clarkson), and Thank You for the Music (Abba).

This year take time to enjoy and share in the appreciation of not only family but your work family and associates also.  If you’re looking for corporate Thanksgiving catering in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, we’ve got you covered!  It would be our honor to deliver a delectable culinary experience for you and your guests. We are especially grateful for all of our valued clients, and send our best for this season of Thanksgiving. 

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Have you ever been to a formal event where, after tasting the food, you felt the urge to use the sentence “This is absolutely divine!” for the first time in your life? Then you have been to an event that was catered by a professional company!

Throughout our lives, we are faced with organizing at least several important events - engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, business receptions. And organizing events can be very expensive and time-consuming. So we try to makes cuts in every department, and perhaps one of the first things that comes to mind is the catering. Who needs it when you can buy the food yourself. Everything will be so much cheaper, right? Actually, that is far from being correct.

Here are five important reasons why you should hire a caterer!


Reason No1: It will save you money

It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s true. When you go through a caterer’s price list, and you add up all the guests that you expect, you start to think that the overall price is very expensive. Yes, the organization of an event in itself is expensive, and the costs increase proportionately to the number of attendees. There is simply no way around it.

At first glance, it say seem cheaper to buy the food yourself but what about its preparation? How much time would you have to spend on it? Who will help you? Do you have all of the appropriate pans and pots? What about all of the spices that will make everything taste better? Where will the plates come from - would you have enough for all of your guests? How will you keep everything warm? And more importantly, who will serve it?

So many questions! The caterers have all the answers. They are professionals, and they know how an event works. They provide their own plates, and staff who will make sure that those plates stay always full. Additionally, they can prepare the food ether in advance or on the spot, while the event it taking place, so that everything is fresh and delicious.

Reason No2: It will save you time

This one is kind of obvious for anyone who has ever been burdened with the task of being a host. Organizing events can be exhausting - both mentally and physically. There are so many things to consider: the invitations, the theme, the decorations, the sound system, the DJ, the entertainment, and so many others. And let’s not forget the food! It’s one of the most important parts for a successful event.

There are too many things, and too little time to do them in! Nothing ever goes as planned, and the time gets shorter and shorter. Everyone knows that a good leader knows how to delegate. So why not do just that?

Professional caterers are experts in their field and their only goal is to ensure the delicious satisfaction of your guests. Let them worry about the food being fresh, and being served on time. They know what they are doing. Relax and take care of the rest. Leave the hard part to them!

Reason No3: It will be more delicious than you could have ever imagined

We would like to think of ourselves as people who know good food. After all, we all eat it, and we all enjoy it. However, you might be missing a small detail. Unless you are a chef yourself, you have a preconceived notion of what types of food go together and/or are available at the local supermarket. So when you make the grocery list, you will add only certain foods. This is completely natural but it will leave your tables looking very dull and flat.

Caterers, on the other hand, have spent countless hours negotiation deals with suppliers, and trying out various combinations of food that at first may look strange but are in fact very delicious. If you have been to a catered event before, you know what we are talking about. Taking a bite out of a canapé with unknown ingredients and thinking that “it’s divine”. Only after do you find out that it contained a type of cheese you only heard about in movies, and it was combined with a piece of fruit that you never saw before.


Reason No4: You will be the talk of the town

What differentiates a good event from a bad one? The food. Whether we like to admit it or not, food can make or break a party. As many events take place in the evening, most people are hungry. But if what you serve is not held to a standard, many will be left disappointed.

There is one universal truth - if we have a bad experience with something, we will make sure that everyone knows about it. On the bright side, the same is valid if our experience was amazing. Which one of the two feedbacks would you rather hear?

If the food at your event was prepared and served by a caterer, your hardest task of the night will be to accept compliments. And who wouldn’t like to do that?

Reason No5: You should also enjoy the party

As we already mentioned, organizing events can be tiring, to say the least. You have to put so much effort into them. And unfortunately, that effort doesn’t end when the party starts.

On the contrary - many things need to be looked after and checked. Most hosts of events do not have time to sit down, and eat even a bite. They have to run around dealing with the latest disaster, or making small talk with their guests. By the end of the night, the organizers are exhausted and hungry.

This is where the caterers come in. They know what events are like, and will be able to assist you perfectly. You might even be able to take a bite of their delicious food!

All in all, catering is something that we think we don’t need but it turns out to be the thing that saves our lives. When we want a haircut, we go to the hairdresser. When we need to fix our teeth, we go to the dentist. And when we need to feed the crowd on our event with amazing food, we go to the caterer. Simple as that. Now, go, and organize the event of the century!

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The leaves are turning, the air is getting crisper, that can only mean one thing. Fall is just around the corner and with fall comes football. Football games bring together families and friends who want to root for their favorite teams. Get-togethers and football parties are an absolute must in the fall. There are the definite essentials that you need for any tailgate or football party the first being the proper set up to watch or stream the game, the decorations and most importantly the food.

First let’s start off with some great game day decorations that will make your get-together truly memorable. Most of these are DIY and are perfect to use for future football parties.


  • Football Party Mason Jars - These are great to hold utensils, napkins and other essentials for your food table. The great thing about painting your mason jars are that you can paint them in your favorite team’s colors, make them a football, paint a game plan on them or even dress them up as a referee! These make a cute addition to any table and a perfect way to show your team spirit.
  • Football Party Food Labels - make football shaped picks that make it easy for your guests to know what each dish of food is. It’s festive and practical!
  • Football Field Party Table - this is a great way to kick up the festive attitude with a gridiron table dressing! This makes your table that neatly has all your snacks and food laid out look that much more appealing! It’s a super cute and fun idea and the best part is it leads to a quick and easy clean up at the end of the night!
  • Game Day Paper Chain - This is perfect for any game day party. The best way to complete this is to grab some brown and white construction paper and make little footballs with the brown construction paper and interlock the footballs with the white construction paper. These can be used to decorate anywhere you desire. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to make your party football ready!  
  • Astroturf Yard Line Bunting and Coaster - Use some astroturf scraps to make a yard line bunting to hang wherever you please, it makes a great addition to any football themed party. Another great idea is to use the astroturf scraps for coasters. You can make them yard lines as well and they are a great and festive way for your guests to place their drinks! 


The next item up for a perfect football party is the games. You want to make sure that you keep your guests entertained during commercial breaks and halftime. There is no better way to entertain them than having these three games ready. A lot of fun will be had and your guests will enjoy every minute of your football party.


  • Football Commercial Bingo - This is a great game to continue throughout the football game and for the duration of your party. It’s also great because you can create your own BINGO card or there are many templates you can find online. You choose different companies commercials and when they come up during the commercial break you mark them on your bingo sheet! It’s a great way to keep guests entertained through the commercial breaks.
  • Rate the Commercial - this is geared more towards a Super Bowl party, as there are specific commercials made for that game, but it would work for any football game. Give your guests paddles or popsicle sticks or whatever you would like to use, and have everyone rate the commercials on a scale of 1 to 5. It’s bound to lead to laughs and fun.
  • Bean Bag Toss (Cornhole) - this game is a staple to any football party. It’s fun, it’s a team game and it’s great to play during halftime. There are ways to make your own or you can buy an already made set. The game consists of two wood or plastic platforms with a hole in it on either side and guests have four bean bags to toss and score points. It’s a load of fun and will make your football party one of the best.


 Now, on to the most important part of any football party, the food! Food is so important when it comes to a football party. You should, of course, provide a meal (we are offering some great specials this season). But, on top of that, you might want fun appetizers and lighter meals because your guests will most likely want to snack and eat throughout the game. Here are some of the most have snacks at any football party. 


  • Mini Pigs in a Blanket - Another staple of any football party is pigs in a blanket and while these are a more simple dish, they are a crowd pleaser. Make them even more on-theme by making them shaped like little footballs.
  • Meatballs - These are a great comfort food and a great way to appeal to all your guest’s tastes. Meatballs are great for a chilly fall day spent watching football.
  • Corn Salsa and Chips - While suggesting corn salsa, any salsa that appeals to you can be used. Chips and salsa is a great snack to have and compliments any other appetizers or hors d'oeuvres you may have selected for your party.
  • Hot Dip - now hot dip is a general term, but that’s because there are many types of hot dips you can choose from, such as spinach artichoke, but as long as you have some type of hot dip your guests will be happy. It’s an excellent snacking food to have available for your guests and something they can continue to munch on throughout the game and party. 


These are just some suggestions that will help you to have a wonderful and fun football party. Whether you are watching a big game, such as the Super Bowl or just having a small get-together with friends and family, any combination of the above will make for a fun and delicious football party. And one that will be remembered. So, this fall get your team’s jersey out, dust it off and enjoy football season and your football party!

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                  The words “this is over our budget” are probably words that you use often as you are planning a function, including a birthday party, wedding, or even a family reunion or get together.  Sticker shock is very common for many, including myself when I am out shopping.  There is a lot that goes into the cost of something, and there is a reason why something is set at the price it is, and for a consumer, that can be hard to understand.  Sometimes all it takes for us to understand something is to educate ourselves a bit. 


           b2ap3_thumbnail_5.JPG       When it coms to catering, you, the client, is left with little work to do once you have chosen a menu and time frame and have confirmed everything with your caterer, and let’s face it, choosing a fun and delicious menu is the fun part!  There are quite a few different factors that go into the cost of catering, which is why it is important to keep an open mind as you make your decision on what caterer to choose for your special event. 



The first thing to keep in mind is that the event coordinator you are working with needs to get paid, that is of course a reality.  They get paid to work with clients who need catering.  Another item you need to keep in mind is that caterers have base expenses that need to be covered in revenue in order to operate, and these expenses include staffing, the building or kitchen they run, and vehicles and other equipment to name a few.  All caterers have these same expenses.


                  More importantly than the base costs, is the fact that you, the client, get to simply show up to the location you tell the caterer to arrive to, and enjoy yourself without having to worry about ANYTHING.  You get to just be in the moment and mingle with your friends and family.  You don’t have to cook the food or go get the food, it all comes to you!  A typical catered meal can cost anywhere from say $14 to $34 (on the high end).  What do you pay for a meal when you go through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant?  Even a fast food cheeseburger, fry, and soda can cost you nearly $9 now a days. You need to drive to a fast food or sit down restaurant too.  Therefore, when you think about paying a few more dollars per person for food that gets brought to you, and even maybe cooked right on-site in front of you, the price doesn’t seem so bad.  When working with a hand picked caterer and customized menu, you get incredibly great quality and you get so much more for your value when using a caterer, and that is something we don’t really think about as we are price comparing.  Better yet, you don’t have to set up an entire buffet, or clean it up at the end, this is taken care of for you in the cost you are paying for the food.


                  Many people often want to try and cut some corners too, and choose the option that is going to save them the most money, however, is cutting corners and choosing the cheapest something you really want to do for your wedding, for example?  A wedding is one of the biggest days of your life, and it is an event that people remember forever.  It probably isn’t wise to give up a good quality meal or the right amount of service and staff just to save a few bucks as trying to cut your expenses too much could lead to greater issues in the end.


                  These are all factors to keep in mind as you are considering different caterers for your event, and remember that the price will most likely be higher than the drive-thru at the fast food chain, or even a meal at sit down restaurant, but that is because there is little work that you, as the client, need to do, which means you can spend your time enjoying your special event instead of worrying about the food.




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Exquisite edibles to enjoy during your solar eclipse celebration

All eyes will be to the sky this coming Monday, August 21, when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking all or part of the giant star for up to three hours. It is the total solar eclipse of 2017 – the first in the United States in 38 years!

The path of total solar ‘blackout’ will move through portions of 14 states – stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. However, all North Americans, and even parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will be treated to at least a partial a partial solar eclipse, with the moon covering part of the sun's disk during Monday’s spectacle in the sky.

Such a rare sight calls for celebration, and nothing sounds more suave than a sophisticated eclipse soiree! But after stocking up on verified eclipse-viewing glasses, equipping your guests with a list of eclipse-exploring mobile apps, and creating a stellar playlist (complete with Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’), you’ll want to ensure that you have the perfect menu to accompany the phenomena. After all, no party is complete without a smorgasbord of goodies, and the solar eclipse holds no exception!

Let’s remember that the actual event will be passing through the United States during the daytime, depending where you are located:

  • Western United States: The first in the country to see the eclipse will be along the coast of Oregon around 9:04 a.m. PDT. The moon will completely cover the sun there by 10:17 a.m. PDT
  • Rocky Mountains: The eclipse will begin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, at 10:16 a.m. MDT, with the moon blocking out the sun completely by 11:36 a.m. MDT
  • Central United States: In Southern Illinois, a partial eclipse will begin around 11:50 a.m., with maximum coverage at 1:19 p.m. and culminating at 2:45 p.m.
  • Eastern United States: The coastal areas of South Carolina will be the final place in the United States to experience a total eclipse, with the peak eclipse occurring around 2:47 p.m. EDT and the shadow of the moon moving offshore shortly after 4 p.m. EDT.

As most of the direct action takes place during the earlier hours of the afternoon across the entire country, it’s important that you offer both savory and sweet options for your guests – it’s too early in the day to do JUST sweets, and too late not to provide them at all. Being during the day, you also don’t need to feel obligated to serve a full entrée. Small snacks and bites will fit perfectly.

Grilled eggplant and “moon”-zzarella


Belisimo! Your guests will grant major creativity props for this eclipse-inspired appetizer!

Slice an eggplant into ½ inch thick rounds (the eggplant will be your moon), brush with olive oil, and throw those babies on the grill! You can also roast them in the oven at 420F for about 10-13 minutes. While the eggplant cooks, slice a ball of mozzarella into ½ inch thick rounds (the bright mozzarella will act as your sun).

Layer the eggplant and mozzarella on a serving platter caprese-style. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with some fresh basil.

The contrast between the dark eggplant and the white mozzarella mimics the same idea of the eclipse… the two objects, similar in size and shape, aligning with one and over and covering each other. Viola! A quick and easy catered app.

Get lunar-fied with pizza moons


This one’s super easy and a great finger food option.

Preheat oven according to directions on crescent roll packaging. Unroll the dough on a flat surface. Top each triangle of dough with shredded cheese and a few slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle on a bit more cheese, and roll into crescent shape. Place pizza “moons” on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Since your party will most likely be outside, these pizza moons offer an easy, hand held way to enjoy a lunar-themed snack.

Explore the skies with pretzel-ations


Have kids coming to the party? This little offering acts as both a snack and a craft for the kids.

Use mini pretzel rods and mini marshmallows to create pretzel constellations. Let the children make their own crazy combinations, and have some pre-made designs out on display for inspiration (and decoration).

Party snack catering doesn’t get easier than this – and the kids will thank you, too, for being the cool party host.

Soar into space with rocket dogs


Time to break out that dough once more! Pre-cook hotdogs to your liking. Wrap a regular sized hotdog in Pillsbury Bread Stick Dough and bake it according to the instructions on the dough package. 

Push a skewer through the hot dogs when done and top with a triangle of cheese. Instant. Rocket.

Now let’s add something sweet…

Get galactical with galaxy popcorn


Your guests will get a kick out of this one – which is a lot easier to make than it looks! For it, you’ll need microwave popcorn, three bags of candy melts (black, lavender, and blue) that can be brought at your local craft store, and edible star sprinkles.

Take a bag of microwave popcorn and prepare as per the instructions. Melt the bag of black candy melts in microwave and gently combine popcorn with melted, black candy until coated. Next, spread popcorn in a single layer onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Melt ¼ cup blue melts and ¼ cup lavender melts and drizzle each over the popcorn. Sprinkle edible stars on top, then refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Break up into bite-sized pieces and serve!

Edible eclipse cookies


You’ve eaten these guys for as long as you can remember… but did you ever realize how perfectly they fit into an eclipse-themed party? Whether you decide to buy these black and white cookies from a bakery or make them from scratch, they offer the perfect, celestial balance of dark and light – and fit the feel of the party perfectly!

Let’s not forget a libation…


Whether you are celebrating in the path of eclipse totality or viewing partial coverage from your party place, the ‘Perfect Solar Eclipse’ cocktail is absolutely delicious and a great way to mark the occasion.

Simply mix 4 oz of sparkling clementine or orange soda with 1 ½ oz dark rum. Pour over ice and garnish with an orange slice.

Want to get even simpler than that? Stock up on some Blue Moon beer, of course!

With the main event just days away, the above snacks are quick to pull together, delicious for everyone, affordable, and add the perfect catered touch to your eclipse viewing party’s snack table. In fact, with such creativity and ease, your guests will most likely deem the party out of this world.

When’s the next solar eclipse event after Monday? You’re guests are sure to be wondering when they’ll be able to come back for more!

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