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Christmas tradition

Arviat's annual elders' feast now in second decade

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Arviat (Dec 05/01) - The tradition continues. The annual elders' Christmas feast is just two short weeks away in Arviat.

The 2001 edition of the feast will be held at the community centre on Dec. 19.

This is the second decade for the elders' feast in Arviat, which has always been sponsored by staff from the health centre.

Deputy mayor and local nurse Sandy Ranahan says a number of different organizations have stepped forward to help staff members run the feast during the past few years.

She says the airline industry has always been a major player in the feast's success.

"Calm Air and Skyward have been the main contributors towards the feast over the years, especially Calm Air," says Ranahan.

"We've always raised most of our money by having a lottery on two free tickets donated to us by one of the two airlines."

The annual feast attracts close to 150 people and costs about $2,800 to run.

This year's meals will be made from seven huge turkeys, 15 Arctic char, 14 kilograms of caribou and all the fixings one would expect at a Christmas feast.

There have been about 125 invitations made up so far.

The invitations will be delivered to the elders by support-staff workers from the health centre.

"Our support staff handle most of the selling of the tickets, but people from the schools and the hamlet have been helping out too.

"We also have to acknowledge the efforts of the local RCMP officers who help serve and transport elders back and forth to the feast."

Hotel cooks have stepped forward in the past to prepare the holiday feast, but Ranahan says volunteer cooks will be at the griddle this year.

Staff members are also hoping local school kids will make Christmas cookies as an extra little holiday treat.

"The elders love it when the kids participate in the feast.

"They also love to play the games we put on and everybody has a genuinely good time at the feast."