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Oak Harbor harvest dinner feeds 5,000

The organizer of the North Whidbey Community Harvest called it a Thanksgiving like none other.

The 12th annual event drew about 4,000 people to the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge on Nov. 28 while volunteers delivered meals to about 1,000 more, according to Jack Stiltz, the event’s coordinator.

“This ranked as the best we’ve ever had in 12 years,” Stiltz said.

The Community Harvest started as an event organized by a small group of Oak Harbor businessmen as a way to thank the community. Volunteers served free full turkey and ham dinners to the masses.

In total, 200 turkeys were smoked, roasted or deep fried and 150 hams were smoked.

Tim Ryan, owner of the Barbecue Joint, smoked 40 of the turkeys, while Roger Anglum smoked the hams.

Scott Fraser was the chef in charge of the kitchen.

“We pretty much cooked everything outside,” said Fraser, owner of Frasers Gourmet Hideaway.

“The kitchen is only meant to serve 100 people. When you are in the 3,000 range, we really have to use the outdoors.”

Fraser and Stiltz have helped run the event since the idea was hatched by the late Keith Bartlett, former owner of the Pot Belly Deli in Oak Harbor.

The unseasonably warm weather made the long lines that stretched outdoors all the more bearable.

“It gets better and better every year,” Fraser said.

 

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