Tag Archives: christmas

Santa Comes to Grand Forks

Dec 2 is the day Santa came to town.
You can see him riding the last float in the parade video below.
The weather cooperated – Grand Forks got its first snowfall of the season just in time for the parade.

After the parade was the official switching on of the ‘tree’ and light display in Gyro Park. This year there are 3 trees.

A lot of people came out and enjoyed the events. Many are giving congratulations to the people who put all this on.


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32nd Community Christmas Dinner

Did you have a nice Christmas? Get the day off? Get lots to eat? Enjoy all of that in the company of family and friends? That’s good – these are what we hope for in this holiday season … but reality doesn’t always give us what we want or desire. Not everyone has the day off work; not everyone has family and friends to share it with.

For 32 years a group of people in this town have been working to help bring some of that essential Christmas Spirit alive for those whose situations prevent them from participating in the Christmas feast. We’re talking about the Community Christmas Dinner.

In talking with George Longden about this event I learned a lot I didn’t know. George is coordinator this year but he has been a volunteer for 22 years. He sees this as one of those opportunities to help his community – to serve the public. And that’s the best thing you can do in his eyes.

Each year the core group of a dozen volunteers starts working in November to pull off an event that lasts less than a day. With incredible support from individuals and businesses they raise thousands of dollars ($4,000 this year) and more volunteers (the numbers swelled to nearly 60 this year). Food preparation, logistics, promotion, coordination – all this is well underway by the time they begin the final stage at 9AM of Christmas Eve in the Gospel Chapel. It has to be – the doors open at Noon and everything is cleaned and put away 5 hours after that!

This year they used every chair in the house – filling the main hall and spilling over to 40 more in the foyer and 30 in the sanctuary area. The numbers tell a story: 60 volunteers working with 16 turkeys, 10 hams and 150 lbs of potatoes served up 425 meals – the most they have ever done! 60 of those were take-outs delivered to working members of essential public services such as the Border Services, Ambulance and RCMP. And a meal for anyone held in detention by them as well.

I got there about a half hour after it started and the first thing I noticed was: all the parking spots in and near the chapel were taken. When I got in I could hear the hall before I entered:  a general hubbub of people conversing with their neighbours, friends and table mates. Once inside I saw a large room full of people just getting their meals. Lots of smiling faces.

The best part of all of this: It’s free for those who eat and a big helping of spiritual nourishment for everyone who participates on either side of the table. Aside from feeding the soul they also get to dine on a full menu of turkey, ham, potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and turnips garnished with cranberry sauce gravy and stuffing, all purchased locally. They also offered vegetarian entrees and a full line of pies, cakes and cookies for dessert.

Thanks to George Longden, Paula Wolkosky, Bev Vatkin, Cherylle and Rod Smuland (in the kitchen), Dave Watts (Santa) and all the other volunteers for making this event such as successful part of our Community.