It was 1993 when the Darlings moved from a small town in Ohio to Estes Park, with their three children. Family and friends were left behind; Estes Park was a new beginning. They opened the Estes Angler with Don's brother and Don having been a builder since 1979, Estes offered promise and another chapter in their lives.

Over the first several years after their move, at Thanskgiving they would travel back to Ohio, reconnecting with family and friends. That was always important and a welcome time of the year to look forward to.

In 1999 Larraine and a friend purchased Notchtop Bakery and Cafe. Larraine loved to bake and she looked forward to offering that addition to Estes Park. After the first year of operating Notchtop, they realized there was no way to get back to Ohio as before, to spend time with family. Don remembered hearing Larraine say, “let's open the doors at Notchtop and invite whoever wants to come for Thanksgiving, they'll be my family.” With the help of the Sunrise Rotary Club, and their good friend Steve Misch they started the first Thanksgiving Community Gathering; a free meal and open to everyone.

As the years moved on, the location was changed a few times and finally ended up at Moutain View Bible Fellowship on the corner of S. St. Vrain and Peak View. Steve and Larraine partnered with planning, organizing and success of this wonderful event year after year until this year. Now that the Covid pandemic has changed the schedule for this year; the Board of Directors have met to discuss the future. It was decided that the event would be permanently cancelled. The past 19 years of serving Estes Park, with this event, have been incredibly rewarding. The volunteers over the years have given of themselves on this special day, to serve thousands of welcomed guests, for a hot Thanksgiving meal.

Steve and Larraine have been blessed in so many ways. Their thankfulness and gratitude goes to every volunteer and supplier that they served with. It's hard to describe the happy faces that joined the event and the privilege it was to help make a Thanksgiving meal a little happier. We all want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this year. Even though we won't be enjoying the meal together, we'll be together in spirit.

Larraine Darling

(1) comment


The Estes Park Community and beyond, owe Steve Misch and Larraine Darling, plus many dedicated Volunteers, our sincere Thanks for funding and Hosting the Annual Thanksgiving Community Gathering for the past 19 years! It is truly sad that due to the covid19 virus, this wonderful Thanksgiving Event is being cancelled, not just for 2020, but for the future as well. Thanksgiving Day in Estes Park will not be the same without "Big Turkey" Steve greeting everyone with a

"Happy Thanksgiving" and Larraine in the kitchen with her Volunteers cooking the wonderful turkey dinners! Thank you all and God's Blessings!

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