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Fort Macleod gathers for Christmas dinner

Fort Macleod Fire Chief Al Zoeteman helped serve dinner.

Fort Macleod Fire Chief Al Zoeteman helped serve dinner.

Ashley Nelson served dinner on Saturday.

Ashley Nelson served dinner on Saturday.

Linda Hann, Dianna Wakelin, Phil Wakelin and Leslie-Anne Hornberger filled plates of food.

Linda Hann, Dianna Wakelin, Phil Wakelin and Leslie-Anne Hornberger filled plates of food.

Close to 550 people feasted on a free, early Christmas dinner Saturday at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
The Masonic Lodge and a strong team of volunteers served a dinner of turkey with all the trimmings to anyone who made their way to the hall between 4-7 p.m.
“This is all about community,” Mason Dave Gregory said. “With this project, we wanted to create an atmosphere where individuals could come in, sit down and enjoy a great meal.”
Gregory said the community Christmas dinner gives people a chance to renew friendships and make new ones while breaking bread together.
Bev and Henry Hagen and their team of volunteers used the ovens at Hansen Family Foods to cook 13 turkeys that each weighed from 25 to 30 pounds.
“It’s just amazing that they let us have their ovens,” Bev Hagen said of Family Foods.
The food team also prepared 200 pounds of potatoes, 80 pounds of vegetables, five pounds of onions, and four 2.5-liter containers of cranberries.
They used 60 loaves of bread for the stuffing, and had 45 dozen buns to serve with dinner.
“It’s a great meal,” Gregory said.
The F.P. Walshe school concert band under the direction of Corby Potyok provided a seasonal sound track to the evening.
When they were finished eating, children had the chance to make crafts at a table staffed by volunteers.
Santa Claus was also on hand for photographs and to listen to Christmas wishes.
“The Masons have been in this community since 1886,” Gregory told people during dinner. “We are the oldest, longest-serving community organization in Fort Macleod.”
There was no charge for the meal but the Masons collected donations of cash, non-perishable food items and toys for the Salvation Army food bank.

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