Ridgway's Christmas Day Happening a hit for locals

Staff Writer

It was a full house at the 36th annual Ridgway Christmas Day Happening, held Tuesday, Dec. 25, beginning at noon at the Central Fire Station. The event serves "to provide a Christmas meal to community members who would otherwise be spending the holiday alone," according to event organizer Karen Lundin.
The event is an "afternoon of socializing with old friends and new acquaintances, a splendid meal, and delightful entertainment, all free of charge. Over the years, guests and volunteers who have gathered together on Christmas Day in Ridgway have become a family."
Every year 400-500 meals are served, and not just to those in attendance. Volunteers deliver over 235 meals to those who are unable to attend. The Kemmer family delivered 79 meals to the Kane Highrise alone this year, while others delivered to Ridgway and the surrounding communities. Families are a large part of the event, both as guests and volunteers, such as the Muccio family who staffed the punch station and delivered directly to table-side. 
In addition to deliveries, some members of the Kemmer family also provided musical entertainment for residents throughout the evening.
The Christmas Happening event was started by Karen Lundin and the late Lila Sprague. Sprague was originally from Minnesota and attended college in Chicago. One year, she was unable to make it home for Christmas.
"She couldn't make it home and she just thought it was terrible to be alone for the holidays," Lundin said. "That was something that stuck with her for the rest of her life."
The two became best friends after Sprague moved to Ridgway, and she insisted that the Christmas Day Happening was something that was needed. The first event in 1982 attracted roughly 40 people in the fellowship hall of the First Lutheran Church.
Karen Lundin wishes to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors of the event and the firemen for the use of the building. Though too humble to take credit, volunteers credit Lundin with spending weeks organizing every detail of this event every year.