Cambria’s free annual Thanksgiving Day dinner, which is also a group hug for the community, will be served officially from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. (Those times are slightly different than the ones published last week.)
The classic turkey dinner is available free to people of all ages and economic situations. Many who would otherwise dine alone choose to share a home-cooked banquet in lively company. At the midday dinner, new friendships are forged and longtime friends reconnect amid conversation, laughter, hugs and, of course, the good food.
According to event coordinator Linda Giordano, volunteers at last year’s event served 738 meals.
“At one point, we had a line 45 minutes long, because people want to visit while they eat,” she said. “Some guys who were hitchhiking through stopped and asked, ‘Can we set up and play for these people while they wait?’ We said, ‘Of course, but only if you come in and eat!’ So they did.”
The Thanksgiving volunteers often leave their own celebrations at home to help out. The volunteers come from throughout the community — including from the hosting Vineyard Christian Fellowship and some other churches.
The menu includes the classics: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh cranberries and more, plus lots of pies.
Some people take their meals to go, and other dinners are delivered to those who ordered in advance because they can’t attend in person. But Giordano and Vineyard Church Pastor Gary White hope lots of people will “dine in,” enjoying the music, decorations, friendship, conversation, laughter, and of course, all that good food.
At one point, we had a line 45 minutes long, because people want to visit while they eat.
Linda Giordano, Thanksgiving dinner event coordinator
People also can return at the end (about 2:30 p.m.) to get leftovers, if any, so all the food goes to people who will enjoy it.
There is no charge for the meal, and the event that are gifts to the community from Cambria Vineyard Church and the volunteers. Giordano said any cash donations are applied to next year’s event or Cambria Vineyard Church’s food bank program.
Festival of Trees
This year’s Festival of Trees is dressing up and going upscale. The 2017 event will be held Nov. 30 at Cambria Pines Lodge, and it includes buffet dinner, champagne and musical entertainment. Attendees can see and bid on live and artificial trees decorated and donated by individuals or groups. All proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations. For tickets, $50 each, call 805-927-3624 or email www.cambriachamber.org.