The first Thanksgiving was a community celebration. Thanks to the Payson Elks, the tradition of a community feast continues with the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Elks Lodge Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.
Start the celebration with a Thanksgiving Eve worship service at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church, 407 W. Wade Lane, Payson.
Holy Communion will be served. The theme for the service will be “The Secret of Contentment.”
For more information, call Pastor Steve DeSanto at (928) 474-5440.
On Thanksgiving Day, Rim Country residents are encouraged to really relax and let the Payson Elks fix the holiday dinner for you. So, don’t worry about that turkey and all the fixings, just get a free ticket and head out to the Elks Lodge on Airport Road for one of three seatings: noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
This is the seventh year the Elks have put on a community Thanksgiving dinner. The first year they served 400 dinners and last year fed 725 people.
Bob Troutman, who manages the lodge, hopes to have at least 700 Rim Country residents share the holiday with the Elks this year.
It was Troutman and his wife Adrienne, both active with the Payson Elks, who encouraged the club to take over the dinner when it became an orphan in 2003.
The work starts in September with ordering supplies. Then, the week of the feast, Troutman and his crew of volunteers put in 50 hours or more preparing the food. In fact, the project has so many volunteers anxious to help the community celebrate, Troutman and the Elks sometimes don’t know what to do with all of them.
The menu includes turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, vegetables, salad and rolls and an assortment of pies. Guests can have coffee, lemonade or water with their meal.
DJ Craig will provide entertainment for the afternoon.
The meal is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.
Get tickets at the Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline Highway, Payson; the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce office, 100 W. Main St., Payson; the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St., Payson; or the Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place (turn left immediately past the Pine Community Center), Pine.