Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. The Nederland Community Thanksgiving Dinner is one of the events that won’t go away. It has been in existence in one form or another, in one place or another, since even the old-timers can remember.
It has a life of its own.
Over the years, the leadership and the organizers, have come and gone, but someone always picks up the responsibility, grabs the torch and keeps on running.
Last Sunday, Nov. 12, about 1,000 people filled their plates with turkey and all the fixings. There was a medley of vegetable casseroles and salads, breads, rolls, vegan dishes, non-gluten recipes and perhaps one of the largest assortment of desserts ever. It didn’t seem possible that it would all get eaten, but servers were scraping the bottoms of the pumpkin pies and handing out the last brownies as the dinner reached its end.
Community dinner organizer Jennifer Pund said that it was the most people she has seen attend the event since she began running it three years ago.
The Nederland Community Center gymnasium was festive with decorations put up by local girl scouts and each table had a center piece sponsored by a local non-profit.
Each table also had a chalkboard and those sitting at the table were encouraged to write down what they were thankful for.
“We are community.”
“This good life.”
“Food, snow, friends and the fire department.”
“My kids, my country, my life, my kids.”
“Learning new things from new people.”
“Apple crumble, family, food and life.”
Volunteers from the Nederland Fire Protection District contributed their usual delicious home-made chili set up on their own table with sour cream, cheese, corn bread and smiles. This is another tradition that we have hang on to.
Kayla Evans poured the gravy. Former town administrator Alisha Reis washed dishes. Keep Magnolia Clean was responsible for sorting the trash, making sure what could be recycled, got recycled.
There was no live music because, says Pund, they needed all the space they could muster to put in more tables. The Caribou Room, however, set up a sound system and provided a stream of music meant to add to, not drown out, conversation.
The Mountain People’s Co-op donated 200 pounds of potatoes. Peak to Peak Spirits and the Stringfellow family donated the turkeys and B & F Mountain Market donated the items to prepare stuffing and gravy. The entire community brought in their specialty recipes that made the dinner remarkable.
In a three-hour period of time, our community enjoyed a time to reach out to one another, to feast on food provided by everyone for everyone and to feel grateful we live where we do.
(Originally published in the November 16, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)