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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: January 15, 2014

Parking ban? It’s Plow-WOW party time at Little Tap House

Written by: Susan Axelrod

The “shot ski” in action at the 2013 kick off party for Plow-WOW at Little Tap House in Portland. Courtesy of Craig Dilger Photography

Portland, Maine may be one of the few places in America where enough snow to result in a serious inconvenience — a city wide parking ban — is also the reason for a great, impromptu party.

Plow-WOW was launched in the fall of 2012 at Sonny’s; this year, its new home is at Little Tap House in Portland’s West End. The way it works is pretty simple: if the city announces a parking ban, an announcement goes up on Plow-WOW’s Facebook that the party is ON.  You can also sign up for email alerts.

What’s described as a “pop-up party for the Portland peninsula” is the brainchild of Emily Elizabeth Hricko, a Portland native and graduate of Bowdoin College who has an event planning business — Emily Elizabeth Events.

“I was out with a friend on a Tuesday night; it was a snowy night and we were having a drink and were like, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a community-sponsored happy hour? You would just know it would be a thing when you saw the parking ban,” she explains.

She worked with a graphic designer, Cecilia Ziko, to come up with a logo and a photographer, Craig Dilger, to chronicle the events.

“It’s great to do something in the off-season that’s fun,” she says. “Lots of people come out in the summer and it’s a little bit easier to meet people then.”

Each Plow-WOW features drink and food specials include a cocktail for $6; draft beer for $4 and bar snacks and shots for $5. For the next one, Little Tap House is adding a small-sized salad and mini cheese plate. There is also entertainment in the form of the “shot ski,” mad libs, animal track match and word search games.

Skiing to Plow-WOW during the blizzard of 2013. Courtesy of Craig Dilger Photography

While most Plow-WOWs are spur-of-the-moment, there are two planned events — a kick-off party, held this year on Dec. 5, and a wrap-up in the spring. Because this winter has already been a snowy one, there have been two pop-up Plow-WOWs to date: on Dec. 14 and Jan. 2. They draw a mix of ages, says Emily, just like Little Tap House’s regular crowd.

Ever the planner, she’s already thinking ahead to next year and eager for input.

“We’re in it for the long haul and we’ll kind of see where the journey takes us,” she says. “Our ears are open and Little Tap House is too. If people have strong ideas about the kind of specialty cocktails they want to be featured, we want to  know about it.”

Let it snow!

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