Elks Lodge Thanksgiving Dinner

The last four of the 44 turkeys roast for the Elks Lodge Thanksgiving Day free community dinner. KEVIN GOLDY | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

COVID-19 didn’t ruin the 30th anniversary of The Elks Lodge Thanksgiving Dinner — it just delayed it.

Turkey Time is back at The Elks in 2021, announced organizer Mark Ison. Ison was devastated to cancel it last year because of the pandemic.

However, turkeys weren’t easy to come by for this year’s event. Ison and fellow Elks members managed to purchase a pair at a time — which was the limit — at various places in the area, but they needed substantially more.

Ison, who travels in his occupation, visited a Walmart in Zanesville, Ohio, and explained to the manager that he’s trying to serve 1,800 people for Thanksgiving. He was able to buy 44 turkeys at an undisclosed price.

Brothers Billy and Martin Grace traveled 170 miles to Zanesville in a truck to collect the nearly four dozen 22-pound turkeys.

“When you’re down and out, you’ll travel three hours to get what you need,” Ison said. “We were panicking.

“Thank God for Zanesville, Ohio,” he added with a chuckle.

Ison said there will be enough volunteers to prep turkeys for the oven, but he is extending the invitation to potential volunteers to pull turkey on Sunday.

“Come down any time,” he said. “You might have to wait a little bit, but there will be turkeys to pull.”

Turkeys will enter and exit the oven every three hours throughout an 18-hour process.

People may also lend a helping hand on Thursday. In the past, they’ve been short on delivery people.

“Anybody who wants to come and deliver, go through the front door and just say, ‘Hey, I want to deliver food.’ They’ll park you in a certain area.”

Volunteers may start coming at 8 a.m. The plan is to assemble meals around 8:30 to 9.

Meals will consist of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert. Ison asked Elks members to donate desserts this year — enough to feed 1,500 or so people — and there was “a heck of a response,” he said. “Hats off to everyone for that.”

Two people will be answering phones from 7-11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day taking orders for pick-up, Ison said. When retrieving the to-go orders, you’ll be guided by people in high-visibility vests. There’s no reason to go inside, Ison said.

“Pull up, get your order and go ahead and take it home,” Ison said.

Dine-in will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. People may call for deliveries as well. Call (606) 324-5720 or (606) 325-3557.

Ison is thrilled to have Thanksgiving at The Elks again.

“We wish everybody a better Thanksgiving this year,” Ison said. “Come on down, and we’ll make you part of the family.”

(606) 326-2664 |


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