In the small community of Parson, fostering a sense of community is vital to the lifeblood of the town. It’s something that the Parson Hall Board is committed to building, of which Trina Wolfenden is a part of. Using the historical Parson Hall, the Board hosts events throughout the year to help foster a sense of community in the small town.
“It’s just a really great place to gather and see your neighbours and really keep up with community spirit,” said Wolfenden. “A lot of places are losing that. Nobody hangs out with their neighbours anymore.”
At the centre of the Board’s efforts to keep up community spirit are the monthly dinners they host at Parson Hall.
Held on the first Sunday of every month, the dinners feature old time food like roast beef and mashed potatoes, cooked by locals from the community. In the summer, the dinners have a farm to table feel, as people bring fresh produce from their own gardens.
“It’s so nice when everyone gets together, there’s big hugs and everyone sits on one long table and gets to visit each other and it’s fantastic!” said Wolfenden. “When people move to Parson, usually the neighbours will be like ‘you gotta come to the hall dinner and check it out!’ It’s a good way to meet people and everyone’s got a story to tell.”
The Board took over the building a few years ago, when Parson was in danger of losing the hall. The hall, which was built in 1939, had fallen into disrepair and disuse. It was then that the community stepped in to create the Board, which primarily focuses on the hall dinners as a means of paying to repair the hall.
The hall dinners aren’t the only thing happening. The space is also rented out for weddings, yoga, and doubles as the community church on Sunday’s.
The dinners remain the most popular, by a long shot. The last dinner had around 90 people attend, which makes up a large chunk of Parson’s population.
“They love it, they really love it, especially the older crowd, because that’s how they used do things,” said Wolfenden. “It gets back to Parsons roots, where everything was community minded, and I think it’s really important to try and keep that.”
Lately, the board has been trying to engage the youth of the community, to some success. With their involvement, Wolfenden hopes that the tradition at Parson Hall can continue on for generations to come.