KINGS BEACH, Calif. - The Second Annual Tahoe Community Thanksgiving Potluck Celebration held at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach on Thanksgiving Day was a great success, volunteers and organizers said.
Not being one for superlatives, longtime Kings Beach resident and event organizer Meera Beser was running out of words to adequately describe the event.
"We handed out evaluations to guests and got back comments such as 'amazing,' 'best Thanksgiving ever' and 'it exceeded my expectations,'" Beser said. "One guest said 'it was really well-organized especially for being only the second year.'"
People who attended were delightfully surprised, excited and well-fed.
"It was a big hit," Beser said. "I think people simply didn't expect the level of quality and thought that went into the project."
According to the count taken, more than 340 people attended. This included the volunteers who were an enormous part of the event. Everyone got to eat their fill and many even took advantage leftovers to take home. All told, approximately 550 meals including leftovers were served.
Joked Beser: "If you left hungry it was your own fault."
People who were unable to attend came on Friday and Saturday to pick up leftovers, and organizers went searching throughout the neighborhood for others to share the bounty.
"Next year, we are going to be more organized about leftovers," said Beser. "It's so hard to determine how much we will serve and what we will have left. Plus we always find food in the refrigerators and ovens that we overlooked during the hustle and bustle of the event. Last year we had extra stuffing - this year we had too many mashed potatoes."
Any locals or agencies who may be able to accept cooked food leftovers should contact Beser for next year by calling her at 775-230-1066.
The event is richly supported by the entire North Tahoe-Truckee community, Beser said.
"Without the North Tahoe Public Utilities District and the use of the Event Center, we could not make this happen," said Beser. "I love working with the staff - they really are the best."
The North Tahoe Family Resource Center supported the event as fiscal agent, and Project MANA donated turkeys, Beser said, and many restaurants from Incline Village to Truckee donated prepared food and ingredients.
"It was a great way to sample ribs from Jason's and carne asada from Las Panchitas," said Beser, who encourages donations of regional, cultural and unusual foods to round out the standard American turkey dinner fare. "We had pork, chicken and pumpkin tamales; there were certainly no leftovers of those dishes."
Lanza's donated table linens, and the Event Center donates dishes and flatware.
"A great Thanksgiving event should not use paper plates and plastic utensils," Beser said. "We reduce our carbon footprint by using the real thing and washing dishes rather than throwing Styrofoam into the landfills."
John Bergmann of PrintArt helped create new and professional artwork for the event, and Bob Haeberger of Produce Plus provided much of the produce necessary to feed the crowd.
"So many different people donated to the event in so many ways that helped make it possible," said Beser. "It is a tough project to organize, but I am always blessed by the commitment and assistance from the community."