A community Thanksgiving at Blue Moose

Julie Sutor
Summit Daily/Reid WilliamsThe Blue Moose restaurant, owned by Traci and Mike Minarski, hosted the annual community Thanksgiving feast Thursday.

BRECKENRIDGE – Thanksgiving is the easiest day of the year for Blue Moose restaurant co-owner, Mike Minarski – even though his restaurant served 875 pounds of turkey and 300 pounds of mashed potatoes.

On Thursday, the Blue Moose on Main Street in Breckenridge hosted a feast of grand proportions for 600 Summit County residents.

“It’s awfully nice for me to walk around while this is happening,” Minarski said. “Restaurant work is very hard, but the day that this happens is one of the easiest because so many people are helping, and that’s what makes it so wonderful.”

Minarski and his wife, Traci, started the tradition three years ago. They got the idea from an annual community Thanksgiving hosted by the Hickory House restaurant in Aspen.

“Basically, what we wanted to do was to offer a way for the community to get together,” Minarski said. “I know what it’s like to be in a resort community and not be with your family. It’s a great way to get the season started.”

While the Blue Moose plays host, the event wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of many local restaurants, churches, organizations and volunteers, Minarski said.

“Kenosha Steakhouse smokes half the turkeys we get donated from City Market; the other half are done by the Village at Breckenridge,” he noted.

“Hearthstone Catering mashed 300 pounds of potatoes. We see 10-15 volunteers an hour, and St. John’s Church is vital for that. All the ladies at St. Mary’s Catholic Church made pies. Eddie and Patty Bowers coordinate all the publicity and volunteers.”

Minarski’s feast draws people from all walks of life.

“It’s across the board,” he said. “We get tourists and locals. You can look at some people and know that they’re hungry and they need a free meal. We get a lot of waitresses and waiters that are away from their families; we specifically invite police and fire departments. Everyone’s welcome.

“We always get calls, “Well, who can come to this?’ Everyone can come.”

Your contributions help the community

The Blue Moose Thanksgiving is one of many charitable programs supported by the Summit Daily News (SDN) Holiday Fund.

Contributions to the Holiday Fund helped to offset the cost of Minarski’s annual community feast.

SDN aims to hand out $10,000 to charities during the next month – the newspaper contributed the first $3,000, and SDN publisher Mike Bennett hopes to raise an additional $7,000 from local residents and businesses.

The Summit Foundation handles all SDN Holiday Fund donations, so 100 percent of the funds collected go directly to charity.

The SDN thanks Tracy Rameil of Breckenridge for her contribution last week.

All donations, large and small, will be recognized in the newspaper; anonymous donations also are welcome. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Charitable organizations can apply for support from the Holiday Fund at the mailing address above. Include your organization name, the event or project to be funded, the timing of the event, who and how many will benefit and the cost of services and/or supplies.

Between now and New Year’s Day, the Summit Daily News will provide updates on fundraising efforts and the project’s beneficiaries.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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