OAKHURST — It’s an Oakhurst tradition of almost 15 years that didn’t happen in 2020 because of the shutdown. But it’s back in business for 2021, for what will now be the twelfth annual Oakhurst Outpouring.
Come for a huge family gathering (because everyone there is family, whether blood-related or not) and revel in friends, food, and fun.
The Outpouring takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, at the Oakhurst Community Center ., and it’s free.
This is a community labor of love and something of a family tradition for Rebecca Kohout Simon. She’s not the creator of Oakhurst Outpouring. That honor belongs to Jamie Fenton, who delegated the responsibility to Rebecca when she moved away from the community.
Rebecca says, “I was 20 years old, third oldest in a family of 14 and loved planning events. Jamie was moving and was looking for someone to carry the torch her and I had a mutual friend, and that friend knew my love of coordinating events. She connected us, and the Lord worked everything out. and I took over the Oakhurst Outpouring. My family is amazing and always goes along with my next big adventure 🙂 so yes, I took charge of this event, but my whole family has been there and supported it the whole way! Our goal every year is to have the community come together and celebrate this wonderful season.”
This is no small undertaking. There is no paid staff, and donations are not tax deductible. This is simply an event to bring folks together to celebrate, to enjoy a festive meal and to catch up with each other. Each year they serve between 300 to 350 people.
The event is open to everyone, and there is no cost.
At the last Outpouring, in 2019, Tenaya Lodge Resort donated all the food, and Starbucks has always donated all the coffee, hot cocoa and apple cider. It isn’t clear if the food will be donated this year, but if there isn’t a major sponsor, Rebecca and her team welcome contributions, and she and her group purchase whatever else is necessary. Starbucks once again is sponsoring the beverages.
One of the biggest needs this year is — SANTA. After the 2019 Outpouring their regular Santa retired, and they haven’t yet found a replacement. They would appreciate any leads toward filling this big hole.
Even without Santa there will be entertainment. Rebecca’s kids along with her siblings; children all perform a few songs and dances. They also try to find local friends to sing carols or play instruments. Someone reads the Christmas Story.
The team arrives at the Community Center the day before the event and prep all the food. Rebecca says it’s a long day, but it’s also so much fun! We’re in the kitchen cooking, as usually, our men folk are out decorating the center, Christmas music fills the air, and someone does a pizza and coffee run to keep everyone up and running.”
The meal consists of the traditional turkey, ham, green beans. mashed potatoes. gravy, rolls, and yams. Cranberry fixings. The food is served restaurant-style, with servers assigned to each table. They bring food, drinks and dessert direct to diners, so there’s no standing in a buffet line.
The Outpouring welcomes volunteers, donations of cash, main dishes, desserts, and gifts for kids.
To find out how you can help, contact Rebecca Simon at 559-676-9101 or leave a message on their Facebook page.
While the organization and presentation of Oakhurst Outpouring is a tremendous amount of work, Rebecca says it’s all worth it. “I’m usually so busy that I don’t get time to visit with many of the guests, but I have had volunteers come and tell me how blessed a family was to be there and feel so special. Some have said they came because they had no family around and they loved being there with everyone, Some come and bring out-of-town family because they just love the atmosphere of ‘family’ and of Christmas. And that is our heart, that each person would come and truly feel special, that they would know they are prayed for and to just truly feel Gods love for them.”
Come for the food. Stay for the friendship. Help if you can.
Click here for an article about the 2019 Outpouring.
Photos courtesy of Oakhurst Outpouring.