On the third Monday of every September, Buena Vista has dinner together. Spread out across 450 tables down East Main Street, 3,600 friends come together to share stories, laughs, and a meal.
Born out of tragedy and sustained because of a desire to remain a close-knit community amongst the chaos of summer in a tourism-driven town.
In September 2013, the Johnson family of 5 was killed in a rockslide on the Agnes Vaille Falls trail, located just west of Deer Valley Ranch. Then 13-year-old Gracie was the sole survivor, and the BV Strong Community Dinner began that year as a way of helping the community recover from the tragedy.
We strive to create a locally-funded and locally-organized annual activity where the residents of Buena Vista come together in a nonpolitical, noncommercial, non-promotional event to share food and friendship as we celebrate and nurture a sense of community.
Five years later, the dinner has grown from 223 tables and 1,600 people to 450 tables and 3,600 friends. Hosts reserve tables at no cost and provide food for their guests. All attendees are encouraged to contribute to the dinner through bringing a side dish or donating to the BV Strong Community Dinner nonprofit (which covers the cost of table and chair rentals.)
This year, The Loft Theater acted as hosts and we had a wonderful time inviting friends both new and old to join our table. We were blessed with good food, great company, and a gorgeous rainbow stretching across our entire town. Having now experienced 2 BV Strong dinners, I can say this year was by far the best yet. Where will it take our town in 2019? I plan on sticking around to find out.
Featured image courtesy of The Shutter Chef. Numbers found here.