LaHARPE — When serving starts at the community Thanksgiving meal at 11:30 Thursday morning, the doors of City Hall will be open to all.
“It’s for everyone and anyone,” said Leonard DeLaughder. “We want anyone who’s alone or doesn’t have anywhere to go to come for dinner.”
Those who live elsewhere also are welcome to partake of turkey, the trimmings and, “if I get time to make it, blackberry pie,” said Angelia Roney, owner of Angelia’s Cafe on Main Street. “We don’t care where people live, whether it’s here, Gas, Iola, Moran or Bronson.”
The committee formed last year to organize LaHarpe Day activities as well as a community Thanksgiving meal.
“We had between 30 and 40 then,” Roney said.
“We hope to double that number this year,” DeLaughder chimed in.
Iola’s First Baptist Church is furnishing six turkeys. The Baptists also will cook the birds and be on hand to help serve, a part of their outreach mission.
“I think we’ll have plenty of turkey,” Roney observed, “but if we run short of meat, I have hot dogs here at the cafe I can come get.”
Roney celebrated her first year of business last Thursday. A patron at the cafe is what spurred the decision to squeeze in a blackberry pie for the Thanksgiving Day menu, Roney said. “It’s his favorite.
“I’m going to try to work it in,” she added, noting that area resident Jim Smith had brought her a pale of blackberries from his vines.
For people who need a ride to City Hall or are homebound and would like a meal delivered, call Roney, 620-496-2260, or Marsha DeLaughder, 620-719-7831.
THE LaHARPE promoters said the community event was another in a series that they have organized to draw attention to their town and give residents local activities to enjoy.
They put together a haunted house for Halloween and will have a Christmas home decorating contest, as well as a community New Year Eve’s party.
“We’re thinking about a casino party right now for New Year’s Eve,” said Roney.
The DeLaughders, who moved to LaHarpe in 2005, will revive his role as Frosty the Snowman in a fundraiser for the committee with horse-drawn wagon rides Dec. 3, 10 and 17, starting each evening at 6 o’clock. Money from the dollar-a-person charge will go into the committee’s coffers.
DeLaughder had a similar concession on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, with him dressed as frosty, before discontinuing the business in 1999. He now works at the Russell Stover Candies plant.
Everything committee members have done has been a true community effort, Roney said.
“We’ve had a lot of people volunteer to provide food and give monetary support for the community Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “We’re going to have plenty of help, and we hope a lot of people come to eat.”
Nothing would please her and other committee members more.