Out of all the Christmas dinners unfolding this time of year, the Honeymoon Bay Christmas dinner is one of the most special.
Home cooked food, Santa Clause, carols and children running rampant, the Honeymoon Bay Christmas dinner was a true holiday affair. Every child also received a toy upon arriving.
President of the Honeymoon Bay Society, Dick Orman was pleased to host the event for the area.
“The people of the community came together. It was excellent. It’s run by volunteers and our whole being is to help support the community and do things for the community. The Christmas dinner is designed to give back to the community for all the support we receive throughout the year,” he said.
Many people from Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake and Youbou were in attendance, as well.
“Our aim is to try to get the whole community to come out. We don’t just restrict it to Honeymoon Bay. We are well supported by the community. We want to have as many people come as possible. We want you and your fellowship here and we want you to have a good time,” said Orman.
Orman was also impressed with attendance on the evening and noted that 184 people strolled through the door for the free dinner on Dec. 18.
Following dinner, activities were arranged for all the children at the back of the hall. They could make gingerbread houses, decorate a tree or draw Christmas cards and later pianist Joan Henn serenaded the crowd alongside a mini-choir of carolers. Santa Clause also arrived via a fire truck from the North Pole.
Orman noted that one of the highlights of the evening was when 93-year-old Lillian Ambrus was coaxed into sitting on Santa’s knee aboard a sleigh on the Community Hall’s stage.
“That was an added bonus. It was really, really nice to see a lady of 93 years go up on the stage and see Santa Clause, sit on the sleigh and have her picture taken. As her son explained, it could have very well have been her last Christmas,” explained Orman.
Orman said that event was not just for one age bracket, but that the event appealed to both young and old — especially the inclusion of Santa Clause. He was happy that even Ambrus could enjoy the magical elements of Christmas.
“When she went up she was beaming with a smile from one side of her face from the other. It was excellent to see the very young and the old going to see Santa Clause. That really says it all right there.
Another highlight of the evening was when Orman presented the Honeymoon Bay Fire Department with a $1,000 cheque for the fireworks the community will use during Bay Days.
When Orman wasn’t busy preparing food in the kitchen, dishing out meals and busily running around the Community Hall, he was observing all the fun transpiring around him.
“Just watching the joy on the children’s faces when Santa arrived was the highlight for me. The kids perked up. My youngest granddaughter was just enthralled when she saw him and all the other little children were just really excited about Santa arriving. Watching them wait to get up on the stage to sit on his knee was great,” said Orman.
Katrine Winia is one of the Honeymoon Bay Society’s nine volunteer directors and she, too played a role in organizing the dinner. She thought this year’s dinner exceeded the Christmas dinner of 2010.
“It was bigger and better than last year. Even if we were only doing it for five people, it’s just so nice to see the looks on everyone’s faces,” said Winia.
She thought it’s a wonderful opportunity for newer members of the community to get a feel for the local atmosphere.
“People that just moved here can meet each other without any pressure of neighbours introducing them in private,” Winia added.
Guy Paton, fondly referred to as Mr. Honeymoon Bay is another one of the Society’s directors.
“It’s wonderful. It’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year. We put chairs out for 200 people well you can see their damn near all full.
For Paton, giving back to Honeymoon Bay is an integral part of his life.
“It’s the one thing we do every year to try to give back to the community because all year round the community is fundraising. This is the best event we have every year,” he added.
Chris Clarke works at the Honeymoon Bay Lodge and Retreat Centre but has lived in Lake Cowichan for six years. He too was in attendance and was content to be in the midst of so many pleasant people.
“It’s great. It’s nice to see friendly faces and it’s a nice, small community. You get to know lots of people,” said Clarke.
The Honeymoon Bay Society also distributed Christmas hampers on Dec. 19.