Thanksgiving dinner a hit with local attendees

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— Janus Jacobs spent his first Thanksgiving at the Steamboat Springs Community Center Thursday.
Jacobs, an 18-year-old from Holland, downed a soda with some turkey and stuffing as he chatted with an individual from Pennsylvania.
Jacobs and his dinner companion, Greg Sklaney, were among a few hundred individuals who attended the Community Center's 10th annual free Thanksgiving dinner from 2 to 5 p.m.
The dinner, which was sponsored by United Way and Lift-Up, was available for the general public. Sixty-two volunteers were on hand throughout the day to help cook and prepare the food.
Most of the 30 turkeys at the dinner were cooked by other community volunteers who dropped the turkeys off at the center Thursday morning.
Besides the turkeys, volunteers at the center also brought out large pots and pans filled with mashed potatoes, green-bean casseroles, yams, stuffing and corn. There were about a hundred pies, including pumpkin, apple, pecan, chocolate, strawberry and peach.
Many of the people at the dinner said they found it hard to choose a favorite item.
"It's hard to pinpoint," said the 25-year-old Sklaney, who moved to Steamboat in June. "If you pick one, you'll leave out something else."
Ralph and Jennifer Bidwell, who traveled from Boulder Thursday to snowshoe, got a heads up about the Thanksgiving dinner when they telephoned the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce, they said.
"We could have gone out for dinner, but this has a Thanksgiving ambience to it," Ralph Bidwell said. "It's like you're with family even though you don't know these people. This really is a wonderful thing."
The dinner crowd included a mixture of attendees. Elderly people, snowboarders, vacationers and new residents filled the chairs and gobbled food as a young girl played a violin to provide some entertainment.
Alayne Parsegan and Howard Miner, who have been a couple for 28 years, enjoyed the violinist, they said. The couple, which owns a condominium in Steamboat but is visiting from Florida to ski this weekend, has gone to the dinner the past three years.
"We think it's marvelous," Miner said. "We wouldn't miss it for anything. We've even been to the Christmas (dinner), too."
Besides the 62 volunteers who helped prepare the meal, eight volunteers from the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. helped carve the turkeys.
Karen Rhoads, a United Way board member, said any leftover food would be given to the Lift-Up Food Bank.
Ann Sirois, a volunteer, said the dinner was a chance for people to share Thanksgiving in a friendly environment.
Marc Duncan, who moved to Steamboat from San Diego two weeks ago, said the dinner allowed him to meet some locals.
"I didn't know anybody so I figured I'd check it out," Duncan said. "It's a good way to make friends."

To reach Eric Rineer call 871-4229 or e-mail erineer@amigo.net

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