A full house was on hand for this Ponoka Family Community Christmas Dinner in 2015

The grand Ponoka Community Christmas Day dinner tradition

Community Christmas dinner has a long, healthy tradition in Ponoka

Hopefully for everyone this Christmas season 2016 will be a very happy and special occasion for family and friends of all ages to gather together and share countless hours of sincere fellowship, fine food, gift giving and festive fun.

It was many years ago along a snowy Chipman Avenue that the congenial owners and staff of the Leland Hotel put out the welcome mat and hosted a gala Christmas Day dinner for families and individuals in the community who were on their own, visiting or had no made no plans or a place to enjoy this most glorious and traditional festive occasion.

This jolly tradition of sharing a magnificent Christmas dinner and all the trimmings and treats in a jovial camaraderie with family as well as old and new-found friends has carried on for many years and grown steadily thanks to the kindness, generosity and keen support of our always caring community and surrounding county districts. Last year’s Dec. 25 dinner and festivities attracted close to 275 guests and dedicated volunteers of all ages and walks of life, and plans are now being made to host the gala Christmas Day event at the Royal Canadian Legion Ponoka from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend. Doors will open at 10 a.m., with coffee, fellowship and entertainment by Russell Adams and others going until noon at which time the magnificent Christmas Turkey Buffet Dinner with all the trimmings will be served until 1 p.m. After a little more camaraderie, greetings, treats, games, a few surprises and clean-up the doors will close at 2 p.m. sharp.

Sherry Mitchell, of the Rimbey area, passionately continued to promote the Christmas event for many years, and received ongoing assistance from the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House as well many other dedicated volunteers. In 2012 Bob Hepp and family graciously came forth to help organize the very popular Ponoka Community Family Christmas dinner, and with the amazing support of many others have been extremely pleased to carry on this local festive tradition. Highlights of this casual and enjoyable affair will include entertainers or special guests dropping in to bring joy and greetings to the jovial crowd, who will also share the treats and gifts that have been kindly donated by our generous community businesses, organizations, churches, clubs and individuals for the occasion.

For those who may not have a ride to and from the Community Christmas Dinner Christmas Day Shannon and the congenial staff at the Ponoka Family and Community Support Services have very kindly offered free transportation in the Ponoka Wheel Chair Van. These rides however MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE by calling 403-783-3399.

Those wishing to help out at the event in any way are asked to contact Carla Prediger at 403-783-4078 or Val Schabert at 403-783-8799 and will be warmly welcomed at the Legion at 10 a.m. on the big day. The always jovial Bob Hepp explained that financial donations are greatly appreciated for the success of the Community Christmas Dinner, which allows them to plan the event and go out and purchase all the supplies that are required to prepare the fabulous main meal. Those who wish to donate items such as socks, scarves, gloves, poinsettias, oranges, gifts and other treats for the event are also very welcome to do so. All donations can be dropped off at the Servus Credit Union (4780-Highway 2A Ponoka) to the attention of the Community Christmas dinner account, at the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House (5216-50th Street) or at the Royal Canadian Legion (3911-Highway 2A) to the attention of Bob Hepp. For more information on this delightful Christmas Day community event please contact Bob at 403-783-4078, and please remember to pass on the word that everyone is invited to attend this fun and friendly get-together, and bring along a friend or two if you wish.