Wake Forest Historical Museum

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The 69th Annual Wake Forest Community Christmas Dinner

Marie Joyner celebrating Christmas in Wake Forest with her great-nephew Paul Parker, 1971.

Marie Joyner celebrating Christmas in Wake Forest with her great-nephew Paul Parker, 1971.

The 69th annual Wake Forest Community Christmas Dinner will be held on Monday, December 5th at the Forks Cafeteria at 339 S. Brooks Street. Tickets cost $15 each and are now available at the Forks, the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, the Wake Forest Historical Museum, and the offices of The Wake Weekly. Additional tickets are being sold through local organizations such as the Wake Forest Rotary, the Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Wake Forest Woman’s Club.

The Wake Forest Community Christmas Dinner was first held in 1947. Organized by the Wake Forest Garden Club and the Civic Club, the original plan was simple: leave behind the hardships of WWII, honor returning veterans, and let friends gather to celebrate the coming holiday.

To make this post-war celebration dinner even more memorable, volunteers arranged to use the broad main room of the Community House on Owen Avenue. Club members cut live greenery to deck the walls. They trimmed trees, prepared favorite dishes, and set tables for a crowd of approximately 140 guests.

And so a new tradition was born.

That inaugural event—with its spirit of giving, sense of brotherhood, and classic southern menu—soon became woven into the story of Christmas in Wake Forest.

This year’s Christmas Dinner begins at 6:30pm and ushers in the holiday season with a southern menu of fried chicken, roast beef, bread, sides, and dessert. The invocation will be offered by the Reverend Joey Chafton of Oak Grove Baptist Church and Committee Chair Durward Matheny will open and close the program.

This is also the yearly event at which Mayor Vivian Jones presents the Wake Forest Citizen of the Year Award, the Organization of the Year Award, and the Peggy Allen Lifetime Achievement Award. The dinner and program are expected to last two hours and continue to rank among the very best events held in Wake Forest during the holiday season.

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