The Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner has become a heavily attended holiday tradition in the area and organizers have said volunteers are what make the event.
And they do.
In past years, more than 150 people volunteered for the event, helping before, during and after the actual feast.
In past years, the Sheridan County 4-H Club has helped pack food bags that were distributed during the event.
Another organization that helps out before the big day is the Wyoming Girls’ School. For several years, students at the school have helped pull the meat from the turkeys prepared for the meal.
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors have also volunteered at the event since its inception in 1991.
“When we started the dinner, we really didn’t have a signature event that the ambassadors did every year and that they could consistently fundraise for,” one dinner organizer Debi Isakson said. “So they took this on as what they felt was a community event where they could get out and be visible while working for the community.
“They know what they are doing, and they do it year after year,” Isakson said, adding that the ambassadors dish out the food each year.
Other groups that make the event possible are local Girl Scout troups that help families carry their plates to tables, local church organizations who help set up and tear down all of the tables and chairs used at the dinner and businesses who come out to help any way they can.
“And this wouldn’t be possible without the Holiday Inn,” Isakson said, noting that the event has been held at the local hotel every year. “They are the only venue that could handle this kind of event with all of the food preparation. They order it, prepare it and use their employees to help oversee the volunteers.”
“It has been wonderful to work with them and they don’t charge us a penny,” Isakson added.
On average, more than 50 turkeys, 70 pounds of green beans, 20 gallons of gravy, 60 pounds of cranberries and 1,200 cups of ice cream are made ready for hungry Sheridanites. But it is not just organizations who help out at the event.
“We have a lot of individuals who want to volunteer as well,” Isakson said.
One year, according to Isakson, a family arrived with their children to volunteer because they wanted their kids to see what the event was all about.
“So we’ve had volunteers as young as 9, 8, 7 years old, and as old as 70,” Isakson said.
Adding to the tradition of community and holiday spirit, the Holiday Brass Band and the Craft Brothers have performed at every Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus are always on hand to greet attendees.
While the Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner is free, organizers ask that attendees get tickets in advance. Check the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce website for locations where tickets are available. The dinner includes turkey and all the trimmings and will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Sheridan Holiday Inn Dec. 7.