By Matt Kroschel

BUENA VISTA, Colo. (CBS4) – A total of 400 tables, 3,600 chairs and 2,000 pounds of meat. That’s what it takes to bring a small town together.

23 Forged In Tragedy, Gigantic Dinner Now Brings Mountain Town Together

(credit: CBS)

The #BVStrong community dinner Monday night marked the fourth year the small town of Buena Vista met on Main street to share a meal, together.

The community event is forged in tragedy. In 2013 a local family was killed in a rock slide.

johnson family rock slide Forged In Tragedy, Gigantic Dinner Now Brings Mountain Town Together

The Johnson family. (Left to right: Kiowa-Rain Johnson, Dawna Johnson, Gracie Johnson and Dwayne Johnson. The photo includes the Johnson’s son, Dakota, who was not with the family during the hike). (credit: CBS)

Dwayne and Dawna Johnson were hiking near Mount Princeton with their two daughters and two nephews when the slide hit. The Johnson’s daughter Gracie, 13, was the only survivor.

Organizers say the idea to bring the entire town together began in the local high school and spread like wildfire.

The mission posted on the community dinner website reads as follows:

“We are a community that’s diverse in opinions and ideas; yet on this night, we focus on all we have in common as we eat together at one table. We embrace the people we love and celebrate those we’ve lost, cheer our accomplishments, and anticipate the return to ‘just us’ as the summer season winds down.”

24 Forged In Tragedy, Gigantic Dinner Now Brings Mountain Town Together

(credit: CBS)

People volunteer to sponsor a table, everyone brings a side dish.

Some strong wind and a fall chill in the air Monday did not impact the event, music and laughter could be heard echoing off Main Street from blocks away.

The rest of town looked like a ghost town.

Volunteers are already planning on how to make next year’s event better.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

Comments
  1. Paul Leach says:

    This is a fantastic event. The Buena Vista organizers were very supportive when the folks in Westcliffe/Silver Cliff decided to do their own Community Dinner. It’s a great reminder that we all have so much in common. Wouldn’t it be great if communities across the state all decided to do this. Thank you, Buena Vista. You guys rock.

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