Daniel Rodgers feeds his then-2 1/2-month-old son, Zachary, some formula during the 2007 Community Christmas Dinner. Also pictured is Zachary's mother, Alicia McKelvey. This year's meal, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, is from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

File Photo

Daniel Rodgers feeds his then-2 1/2-month-old son, Zachary, some formula during the 2007 Community Christmas Dinner. Also pictured is Zachary's mother, Alicia McKelvey. This year's meal, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, is from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Community dinner a collaborative effort

Annual Christmas feast is Thursday at Community Center

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If you go

What: Community Christmas Dinner, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors

When: 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: Colleen de Jong at 846-5569

— The Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors starts work on its annual Community Christmas Dinner each November. By the time 50 or so volunteers serve up a holiday feast to as many as 400 people on Christmas Day, two months of work and countless hours of effort have gone into the meal.

You could call it a labor of love.

"It's a pretty cool collaboration of effort," event co-chairwoman and Board of Realtors member Colleen de Jong said. "It's the old adage of 'many hands make light work.'"

This year's dinner is from 2 to 6 p.m. Christmas Day at the Steamboat Springs Community Center west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

About 50 local real estate agents donated food for the dinner, which requires coordinators for entertainment, decorations, volunteers, food donations, advertising and kitchen work. In its 19th year, the event has become a community tradition, de Jong said.

"We started out as a small group of Realtors putting together the dinner, and it's just grown and grown," she said.

Thursday's menu will include turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, green vegetables and dessert.

De Jong said anyone is welcome to attend the dinner; the meal typically draws local seniors, visiting families, Colorado Mountain College students and Steamboat Ski Area employees, along with anyone who doesn't want to commit to cooking a full holiday spread. In de Jong's third and final year as event co-chairwoman - fellow co-chairwoman Suellyn Godino will take over in 2009 - she said she's enjoyed party planning for the event.

"I also enjoy the day of. It's just a very remarkable, amazing get-together of everybody," she said.

Event organizers have plenty of food donations and volunteers for Thursday, and they are hoping for a large turnout at this year's dinner, de Jong said.

Live entertainment during the meal will be provided by the Yampa Valley Boys, Paul Potyen, 3Wire, Dave Moloney and Steve Hitchcock.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com

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