63rd Pep Annual Thanksgiving Festival - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/27/08

63rd Pep Annual Thanksgiving Festival

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It's a 63-year-old Thanksgiving tradition that Marcy Demel strives to keep alive."I've been at everyone except one when I was sick," said Marcy. She is the Chairman of the Thanksgiving Festival and runs a tight kitchen.

After speaking with several people in the kitchen and in charge of the event,  the best we can figure is that there are less than 10 people that actually live in Pep, but the guest list for Thanksgiving dinner far exceeds that.

Before the kitchen doors opened Marcy and her team hoped to have fed anywhere between 1,100 and 1,200 people. On the menu:1,000 pounds of turkey, 6,000 pounds of sausage (some of which was for sale) and all the Thanksgiving trimmings.  

"All the proceeds go to the church because we're so few out here that all we need is one fundraiser a year and this is it," said Marcy.  

While in Pep, we caught up with some folks waiting in line to see what keeps bringing them back.  

 "I don't have a lot of family and my daughter and I come over here to get a good meal, at a good price and enjoy the camaraderie among the people," said Deanie Tatum of Lubbock.

The Hannemans drove 14 hours to Pep from South Texas. "We have family in the area and get together and part of our tradition is coming here," said Michael Hanneman.

After a prayer in the kitchen, the festivities begin. But what makes this meal such a success? Family and volunteers is the answer. People we spoke to say they've never actually had a sit down Thanksgiving meal because all they've ever known is the Pep Thanksgiving festival.

Marcy Demel says that you have to start waiting tables and work your way up to the kitchen.

It's 11-year old Kristina Thorn's second year to wait tables at her church. "A lot of times it gets really hectic because a lot of people come in and you've got to be quick or else it's gets really backed up," said Kristina. It won't be long until her younger sister helps continue the tradition. Elora Thorn, Kristina's younger sister, told us that she was thankful for stuff that's happy and beautiful."

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