Corned beef dinner turns 50

Knights of Columbus prepare for St. Patrick's Day fundraiser

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What: Knights of Columbus St. Patrick's Day Dinner

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Holy Name Catholic Church, Fifth and Oak streets

Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger

— For many, St. Patrick's Day means a late night. For Bob Litzau and Bob Brown, it means an early morning.

These two and other members of the local council of the Knights of Columbus spend the holiday slow cooking corned beef in the basement of Holy Name Catholic Church in preparation for the organization's annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner. The event turns 50 today.

Litzau, a Knight for about 20 years and chairman of the dinner for about 15, said it started out as just a fundraiser. Although it still serves that purpose, Litzau said it also has evolved into more of a social event.

"It's really become a really neat community event," he said. "You see a lot of people there."

More than 200 people are expected to attend today's dinner, and Litzau said they would start lining up about a half-hour before the doors open at 5 p.m. at Holy Name Catholic Church.

"We think it's the best corned beef in the country," Brown said. "We serve until we're done, and most years we run out."

In addition to the actual dinner, Brown and Litzau said they also enjoy spending time throughout the day with their fellow Knights. Litzau said a South Routt rancher got him involved in the event. Although the two probably wouldn't have spoken to each other much under normal circumstances, Litzau said they became good friends after spending the day cooking together.

"It's really cool," Litzau said. "It's kind of a guys' night out in the middle of the day."

In addition to its signature corned beef and cabbage, the dinner will include potatoes, dessert and other items. The dinner and the Knights' pancake breakfast during the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival are the organization's two main fundraisers of the year.

The organization supports causes such as caring for families and assisting people with mental disabilities, Litzau said. Previous beneficiaries of the Knights include the Steamboat Springs Pregnancy Resource Center and the Boy Scouts.

"All the proceeds go back out into the community somehow," Brown said.

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal benefit society for Catholic men. Council 4462 in Steamboat Springs was chartered Aug. 10, 1957. The local council is named after Father Edward Prinster, the second pastor at Holy Name Catholic Church.

According to the book "Colorado Catholicism" by Thomas J. Noel, Prinster "built a rectory in 1948 and established St. Martin Chapel in Oak Creek. He began planning a new Steamboat church but was killed in a fall from the roof of the rectory in 1956." Prinster's successor completed the new church.

For more information about the Knights, call local Grand Knight Bob Dapper at 879-5883.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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