46th annual Thanksgiving Dinner; a community tradition that presses on amid COVID-19 restrictions

Poster announcing Thanksgiving Dinner event that will take place at the Red Rock Canyon School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 26, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With Thanksgiving a week away, the now vacant Red Rock Canyon School on St. George Boulevard will once again open its doors to thousands of area residents who have made the school’s annual dinner part of their Thanksgiving celebration –  with a few changes to accommodate for social distancing.

2017 file photo of volunteers participating in annual community Thanksgiving dinner at Red Rock School Thursday, St. George, Utah, Nov. 23, 2017 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

With inside dining for large groups no longer an option, Sherman Habibian told St. George News on Tuesday that this year the dinner, which is once again free to the public, will be served in to-go boxes that can be picked up at the facility’s drive-thru area located next to Menchies. This is the same driveway and entrance where guests have line up for the event year after year.

Tables will also be set up in several areas outside of the building, including the balconies, for those who would prefer to enjoy their meal at the facility, Habibian said.

“Whatever we have to do to make it work.”

Initially, he said, the recently mandated restrictions from Gov. Gary Herbert threatened to derail the annual celebration altogether. But after discussing it with his staff, they got to work making the changes necessary to ensure the doors would open at 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Habibian went on to say that one thing that will not change is the food. The dinner will still come with all of the traditional dishes, pies and other fixings that have been prepared for the past 45 years.

Putting on a dinner for thousands is a herculean task that takes an army of volunteers, Habibian said, adding that what makes this year so special is the number of businesses, sponsors and private citizens who came forward to support the cause with donations and funding – especially taking into account how many businesses suffered this year in the wake of COVID-19.

“Our supporters came through 150%,” he said. “It’s incredible.”

Event details

  • What: Red Rock Canyon School annual Thanksgiving feast.
  • When: Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Red Rock Canyon School building, 747 E. St. George Blvd., St. George.
  • Admission: Free to the public.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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