Knights of Columbus guests early for annual meal

Nicholas Festa was one of several young servers at the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Dinner for senior citizens.

Nicholas Festa was one of several young servers at the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Dinner for senior citizens.

“There are people who’ve been sitting here since Monday,” one of the guests at the Knights of Columbus dinner quipped.

He was exaggerating, but the St. Thomas of Canterbury parking lot was full long before the official 12 o’clock start time for the annual feast.

The latecomers had to leave their cars at Village Hall. No one was turned away at the door, as the Knights treated 215 senior citizens to a turkey dinner with a large assortment of desserts.

Jim Lulves was the emcee for the day. With tongue in cheek, he cited three reasons for his selection. He’s big enough to be seen throughout the room. He’s good looking (“You should’ve seen me with hair,” he joked.) And the assignment keeps him away from the serving table.

Actually, to reduce the wait time, there were two serving tables this year. And members of the St. Thomas youth group brought meals to people who weren’t able to wait on line.

Mr. Lulves said the sponsorships in the Thanksgiving Dinner booklet cover the cost of the meal. While the guests didn’t pay for the food many of them bought raffle tickets for gift baskets and a 50-50.

Before the official start of the entertainment. A professional piano player (only identified as Bruce) accompanied the group in a sing-along. His selections went further back than most of the guests. Bruce played “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1930), “Side by Side” (1927) and “When You’re Smiling” (1929).

The Hotsy Totsy Follies replaced him on the stage with a musical revue. The group, which has a mixture of professionals and amateurs, has been around for 28 years. The performers are spry and talented, but not young. Their average age is 87.

The Swing Shift Orchestra concluded the entertainment with a medley of popular songs.

The Knights of Columbus Council 7460 has been hosting the events since 1981. Some of the members have volunteered at almost every dinner.

Council officers: Thomas DiSalvo (grand knight), Peter McGovern (deputy grand knight), Sean T. Camo (financial secretary), Thomas Kane (treasurer), Father Simon Gyan-Obeng (chaplain), Gregory Rocco (recorder), Frank Navarra (advocate), James Lulves and Peter Paez (guards), Steve Accilli (chancellor), Dominic Forte, Joseph Hanley, Frederic Fenton (trustees).

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Ken Cashman