Posted at: 11/22/2012 5:15 PM
Updated at: 11/22/2012 6:18 PM
By: Travis Dill
The 23rd annual Thanksgiving Day Buffet was held at the DECC on Thursday, and thousands turned out for the event.
Roz Randorf is the Senior Chair of the event and she said it defines the spirit of the Twin Ports community.
“This is a full-on community event where there is no strings attached. You come, bring your heart, bring your appetite, come together and just enjoy each other,” Randorf said.
People from Duluth and Superior lined up early for the buffet on Thursday, and thousands enjoyed a meal before the event was over.
But volunteers and patrons of the free buffet said it's more than a meal, it brings the community together in celebration.
“The atmosphere is very festive. I ran into some people that I really didn't even know...and we just started talking and everybody's got one thing in common. We're here to celebrate Thanksgiving together,” Joe Stensland said.
The event was full of activity. Santa stopped by, families took photos and there was even live entertainment.
“Beyond the meal it is really an event where people can come together and really have a family oriented event,” Randorf said.
Last year over 5,000 meals were served, and that record was expected to be broken on Thursday. Of course that takes a lot of work from over 1,000 volunteers, but for some it is a tradition they love.
Jeff Fouts has volunteered at the buffet for 20 years.
“My mom would hold me in her arms and as soon as I could walk and get old enough to carry a pie tray I'd be serving pies. I don't leave until I serve 500 pieces of pie. That's my goal every year,” Fouts said.
And that dedication is something the guests appreciate.
“I think that the volunteers have a heart of gold to serve something that's a greater cause, bigger than them,” Stensland said.
And it certainly wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without all the dressings.
“Try the cranberries. They're awesome,” Stensland said.
The buffet is hosted at the DECC, but event planners said they do make home deliveries for those that aren't able to travel.