The largest annual event for seniors in southeast British Columbia is holding its 32nd edition on November 27, and all we can say is “bon appetit!”
The 38th annual Rotary/Colombo Seniors Dinner every year serves a full-on turkey feast to more than 400 area seniors, and it will again on Wednesday, Nov. 27. And it takes a village to serve a dinner.
Ed Murray, with the Cranbrook Rotary Club, said the dinner is put on by a host of volunteers — mainly Rotary Club members, but also many others who come to help out, and members of the Cristoforo Colombo Lodge, who donate both the lodge and their time for the event.
“We start work on Sunday afternoon, the 24th, setting up tables and chairs and starting to prepare the food,” Murray said. “We basically prepare the whole meal from scratch.
“From Rotary members’ point of view, we’re not only doing something for the seniors, but it’s also a great event for us to work together as a club, en masse. We don’t have a lot of events where we all get to pitch in together and work as a team.”
The late November event is a great way to launch the Christmas season.
“We sell over 400 tickets,” Murray said. “Diners get a full dinner, with the turkeys, the stuffing the vegetables, all the trimmings, ice cream for dessert, a rum punch cocktail — all for the ridiculous price of five dollars a person.”
The festive feast tradition was started in 1982 by George Georgopoulos, owner of the Apollo Restaurant at the time. He held it in the basement of his restaurant at first, but shortly after, the event moved up to the Colombo Lodge and over the years has become a joint effort between the Rotary Club of Cranbrook and the Colombo Lodge.
As well as Rotarians and Cranbrook’s Italian community, others pitch in to help create the repast.
Rick’s Meats donates 300 pounds of fresh turkey every year for the dinner. Fort Steele Bakery last year started providing dinner rolls, fresh the day of, and will again this year. Safeway donates all the cut bread to make the stuffing.
“And for the rest of the groceries, we just go out and buy them, and start prepping the food,” Murray said.
Kootenay Kwik Print prints the tickets to the event at no charge. The Heritage Inn sells them at the front desk. The band Old Spice provides music for dancing after supper. And afterwards, JJ’s Laundry cleans the vast piles of linens used, at no charge.
Afterwards, Rotary donates all monies raised through ticket sales back to the Cranbrook Senior Citizens’ Club, the Food Bank and the Salvation Army.
Tickets for the annual Rotary/Colombo Lodge Seniors Dinner, set for Wednesday, Nov. 27, are on sale now at the Heritage Inn.