The basic structure was multiple groups of sixteen. A few weeks before the event the Activities Director posted a sheet for each group with space for sixteen people to sign. One person ineach group volunteered to be the organizer, often someone who had been a park resident for a few years. Sometimes a group consisted of friends -- but often it provided an opportunity to get acquainted with residents outside one's normal circle. About one week before the dinner the members of each group met to plan their menu and determine who would bring each item. The park Activities Director purchased all the meat (turkey or ham), but someone in each group volunteered to prepare it. If the volunteer's oven wasn't adequate, they could borrow an electric roaster from the park kitchen. Each dinner participant paid a small amount for the Thanksgiving turkey -- but the park operator provided the Christmas ham. (Following the dinner the meat left-overs were divided amoung each group's members.)
Each group was alotted three long tables, arranged end to end, two for seating and one as the buffet serving table. Some groups used the tables as provided while other groups extensively decorated their tables. Since all of the food for a group was on a table next to the group, it didn't take long for each group to serve themselves. (There were no long lines, plus seconds were close at hand.)
Tomorrow, we'll comment about some of the practices we really dislike.