Everyone welcome to enjoy free Community Christmas Dinner this weekend

Abel Aquino holds his plate up for a heaping serving of potatoes from Holly Rogers at the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Community Christmas Dinner in 2017 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The dinner returns to the community center from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 25.
Joel Reichenberger/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

For the 35th year in a row, the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors is hosting a Community Christmas Dinner on Sunday, Dec. 25. 

The dinner is from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center at 1605 Lincoln Ave. and is prepared to feed hundreds of people on the holiday. 

“We’ll have 17 turkeys, we’ll have 15 hams,” said Board of Realtors CEO Ulrich Salzgeber. “We’ll have all the fixings, stuffing and mashed potatoes and homemade desserts, which are fabulous.”

All the food is donated and prepared by area brokers and local businesses.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is providing stuffing and Snow Bowl is contributing four huge hams. The Egg has been a longtime partner and will supply dinner rolls and other items. 

When the dinner first started 35 years ago, Steamboat looked very different, but the Board of Realtors sees it as something that continues to bring the community together. 

“Thirty-five years ago, there was a lot of need. The ski area didn’t have snow-making capabilities and there were often times when people were here who worked for the season and couldn’t start working yet because there wasn’t enough snow on the mountain,” Salzgeber said. “It was a nice get-together to get the community together – a much smaller community at the time, of course. All your friends would just gather around and you would enjoy talking with each other. It was a very community-driven thing. It’s just kind of grown and grown from there. 

The dinner still fills a need, feeding up to 500 people each year from all walks of life. 

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“It continues to be a nice thing to do,” Salzgeber said, adding that families, members of the working class and more show up. 

“It’s a very eclectic group,” he said. “You’ll see some real old time Steamboat-ites that make their way through.”

Putting together the dinner challenges Salzgeber and all the volunteers, as it requires months of planning and logistics. Dozens of volunteers from local real estate agencies and around the community help pull off the dinner, serving food, cleaning up and filling all the holes on the day of. 

“The only challenge we’re having this year is turkey carvers,” he noted. “People have been signing up for other stuff and I don’t have enough turkey carvers right now, but we’ll get them there. We’ll manage when you got to carve up 17 turkeys, that takes a little time.”

Still, Salzgeber said the end product is absolutely worth all the hustle and bustle and hiccups that come up every year. 

“It’s just very rewarding to see that we’re able to fulfill a need in the community,” he said. 

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