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DEL NORTE - "I'm here because my friends are here," Ples Fowler, a Crescent City resident, said.

And asked what she was excited about, Jillian said "to have dinner with my family."

Event organizers estimate as many as 800 meals were served today at the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds.

"It's a community event we've been doing for the past 20 to 23 years. Something like that. It's for the community. The complete community. Anybody is more than welcome to come," Beverly Young, a co-organizer, said.

The event serves a hot and free thanksgiving meal to each guest...and that brings hundreds.

"I think it brings a lot of people together. Not only the people that come to eat but the people that...your volunteers that come down to help and it's just it's an awesome thing and it's beautiful to see," Young said.

This year's event is especially significant because of the passing of Measure F, a ballot measure raising residents taxes to keep the Del Norte Fairgrounds open.

"We would have been good for the next year but had Measure F not passed, there is no other place in our community that would have been able to serve this many people. So it wouldn't have happened. We probably would have had to tone it way down or completely dismantle it," Young explained.

The measure passed by just a few votes, something today's diners are thankful for.

"This is the first major event since Measure F passed by the slimmest of margins and it shows that this building is indeed very much imbedded into our community," Supervisor Roger Gitlin, of the Del Norte Board of Supervisors, said.

"I come here every year and it's a very gala event. Brings a lot of families together," Fowler said. 

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