Community Thanksgiving dinner nearing its 10th year

Some have family who live far away. Others want to do something a little different for the holiday.

But everyone can agree that a major reason for attending the community Thanksgiving dinner at Odd Fellows Hall is that it’s just a lot of fun.

“This is really a community thing,” organizer Monique Gincig said. “So when I see all these people together it brings tears to my eyes.”

Monique has been at the helm of the event, along with her husband Bill, for seven years. Originally started by Bill Wulff nine years ago, the Odd Fellows provide the venue and tableware as well as volunteers to help with set up, decorating, and more.

Monique cooks most of the turkeys, which are donated by the Orcas Village Store, Homegrown, West Sound Cafe, and Island Market, at the Odd Fellows Hall kitchen. The rest are cooked at the homes of volunteers.

The meal starts at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26. Diners are asked to bring a beverage of choice and a dish to share from the following list: Last names beginning with A-M bring your favorite side dish (mashed potatoes, yams, veggies, etc.), N-R bring salad, bread or rolls, S-Z bring dessert. Feel free to bring your famous specialty dish instead of the suggested one above if you would prefer.

Monique says that families are welcome to reserve a table. Call her at 376-8857.

“The whole thing is free, but if you bring more people, bring more food,” Bill said.

The first year the Gincigs hosted the gathering there were 90 community members. Since then, a crowd of 200 has joined together for the annual feast.

Bill says the motto “life is short, eat dessert first” applies to the dinner. Monique agrees, explaining how one year she didn’t get a chance to eat, and when she finally went to have dessert, it was all gone.

Despite such a huge number of diners, the Gincigs manage the entire evening like a team of pros. They say everything just works out beautifully.

“It is very well organized,” Monique said. “I’m not going to be bashful about it.”