Knights of Columbus spread Christmas cheer at popular community dinner

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Knights of Columbus spread Christmas cheer at popular community dinnerThe Knights of Columbus Community Christmas Dinner brought holiday cheer to an all-time record number of diners this year.

“We served 571 dinners,” said Tom Mulvihill, the man in charge of this year’s Knights of Columbus Community Christmas Dinner. “That’s the most dinners served that I’m aware of.” Of those, 214 were served in the Knights’ dining hall, with the rest served as delivered meals or takeouts.

This annual event is free to the public and is open to any resident who wants to come in. The spirit of community is strong within these walls, and it’s about enjoying Christmas. There is no agenda. There is a can for donations, if you choose.

The dining hall was nicely decorated, with white cloth tablecloths, colorful red and green accents, silk poinsettia plants, a sparkly Christ-mas tree and paper holiday decorations on the walls.

Local musicians played live Christmas carols while attendees dined. Volunteers of all ages assisted diners as needed, serving the elderly and bringing around trays of desserts and pitchers of beverages. Other volunteers dished up food, sliced desserts or did kitchen duty.

On the menu, in addition to the tenderest turkey ever, were mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, salad, rolls and butter and a variety of desserts. Beverages included coffee, water, lemonade and punch.

Mulvihill had a team of 60 volunteers to help him orchestrate this 19th Annual Community Christmas Dinner. The team began the project the first weekend in December, with signup sheets for volunteers.

“They started bringing in the turkeys and frozen vegetables the 17th,” said Mulvihill. “The turkeys needed time to thaw. The desserts and rolls were brought in this morning.” There were no less than 31 turkeys, for a total of over 400 pounds of turkey.

All the turkeys were cooked in a deep-pit barbecue overnight, then dug up at 7 a.m. Christmas morning and brought to the Knights’ hall to be de-boned and served.

Many local residents have made this event a part of their holiday traditions.

“It’s always so nice,” said Kathy Duncan. She, husband Ken and son Thomas have attended for the last four years. Ken and Thomas help with the dishes and cleanup. “This event feels like it really makes our Christmas,” said Kathy. “We get to know people around town, so they’re people and not just nameless faces.” Thomas dug into a piece of apple pie and said, “I like all the desserts.”

Among the musicians who generously donated their time and talents to help make the event sublime were Tony Veit, violin and guitar; Katie Veit, flute; and Greg and Briana Cote, guitar, violin and vocals.

Story First Published: 2013-01-02