What once started as a fund raiser for a local church, the Annual Turkey Supper has become a much anticipated social event for many Crowsnest Pass residents. In 1963, the Hillcrest United Church hosted the first Turkey Supper and served approximately 75 meals to the congregation and community members. Over the years, this event has continued to grow and as of last year, approximately 675 meals were served to those who came out to the MDM and those who had meals delivered; courtesy of the local volunteer fire departments.
Through the years, the Annual Turkey Super has moved locations numerous times. It was originally held at the Hillcrest United Church’s Annex but because of its popularity, it was moved to the old Hillcrest School, which had been converted to a community centre in 1962. The next relocation was to the new Hillcrest Community Hall, then to the Mapleview Hall before finally settling in at the MDM.
One of the constants at the Turkey Supper is Margaret Woodward who started volunteering at the Turkey Supper as a high school student in 1963. Together with Belle Kovach, Beryl Orr, Margaret Stolk and many other volunteers, this team has provided the Crowsnest Pass with a wonderful meal and an opportunity for friends to visit with one another. Additionally, this occasion has become a significant fundraising event benefiting both the Hillcrest Coke and Coal Park and the Bellevue Memorial Arena Park.
For many years, the Turkey Supper was held in the fall until a few years ago when the H1N1 scare forced a delay of the event. It was rescheduled to the following spring and since this change was widely viewed as a positive move, it was decided to permanently hold it in March.
Although the Turkey Supper was cancelled a couple of times (due to the Hillcrest United Church closure and the H1N1 virus scare), this event always managed to re-find its footing and carried on after these brief interruptions. However, as successful as the Turkey Supper is, it is time for the torch to be passed on to the next generation of volunteers. The existing group of volunteers would like to see this tradition continue and to share their knowledge they have acquired over the years. If you or your group/organization is interested in adopting the Turkey Supper as one of your fund raising events, please contact Margaret at 564-4485.
This year, the 49th Annual Turkey Supper will be held on Saturday, March 23rd from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. If you would like to meet and join other volunteers in the preparations of the meal, grab your cutting board, potato peeler or favourite chopping knife and come to the MDM on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Or, if you prefer to bake or cook, contact Margaret as there are opportunities to roast a turkey, bake pies or other delicacies for the desert table and the bake sale. We hope to see you there!