Dayspring shelves 2017 community Christmas dinner

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>About 100 people attended the second annual Dayspring community Christmas dinner in 2012.</p>

Stick a fork in this year's Dayspring community Christmas dinner. It's done for 2017.

While the annual event secured dozens of volunteers to help with decorating and setting up the local fire hall, food preparation and serving, there's a core group - roughly a handful of people - who also give freely of their time toward major organizing efforts.

Frank Fawson is one of those among the key group who're packing it in this year after six years of involvement with the annual feast.

"We want to spend some time with family and friends at Christmas and, after six years, we've given a lot and needed to step back and tend to some other relationships in life, I guess," Fawson told LighthouseNOW.

The dinner's cancellation comes as there are no new key organizers immediately coming forward. Fawson believes it's too late for anyone to salvage the event this year, but thinks it could be resurrected in 2018 or spur interest elsewhere.

"Maybe some other types of events can spring out of this," he said. A community Christmas dinner "can be done on a small scale in a community," Fawson added. "I hope that there's some people thinking that way."

Those behind the event are reaching out to the press and advising on social media in order to let people know the dinner is a no-go this year. Ordinarily 150 tickets are distributed and most who intend to eat show up.

The Dayspring fire hall in Upper LaHave provides the space for the dinner, which is free to attend. While there's no charge to attend, people were encouraged to make a monetary donation. The event offered a traditional turkey dinner feast with all the trimmings or a vegetarian option. Live musical entertainment was also featured.

Fawson has little doubt there will be disappointed people, but he looks back at the event as serving a good purpose in the community.

A core team of volunteers hosted a free annual community Christmas dinner in Bridgewater for five years, but pulled the plug after the 2013 event after new volunteer help wasn't available to take over in 2014.

"I think part of the flaw in our western human perspective is that we think everything should last forever and we fear the implications of something ending," Brian Braganza, one of the founding members behind the Bridgewater dinner, told LighthouseNOW in an email.

"The reality of natural systems ... is that they have a natural flow of birth-death-creative destruction-regeneration-and re-birth."

Braganza said much was born from Bridgewater's dinner; even though the event itself stopped.

A community garden network and a night-time art celebration were among the ripple effects brought from the dinner, he indicated in an email to LighthouseNOW. Some business enterprises also gained interest and traction.

"I don't think we can look at the dinners' challenges and successes in isolation, that is misguided," he explained to LighthouseNOW. "I think we need to look the impact they had on the whole system of Bridgewater and surrounding area."

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