John Bemis Community Potluck returns with excitement after two-year hiatus | AspenTimes.com
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John Bemis Community Potluck returns with excitement after two-year hiatus

People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

If you ask Snowmass villagers, it doesn’t get much better than a community potluck after a long opening weekend on the slopes.

“It’s for everyone who works in the community, whether they got here yesterday or they came in 1969,” said Joan Bemis, wife of the late John Bemis, for whom the potluck is named.

The John Bemis Community Potluck took a two-year break due to COVID and renovations to the center, but this year it was back and in pre-pandemic numbers. Crowds of community members, from firefighters to lift operators, waited in line for a Thanksgiving meal at the Viewline Resort.



This tradition began in the late 1980s in the chapel, where community members rearranged pews to host the potluck.

“After many years, we outgrew the chapel and our head of chapel said we’re not going to have Thanksgiving here anymore,” Joan said. “My husband said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Well, that’s not going to happen. This is part of our community.'”




According to Joan, John went to everyone he knew to make sure the event continued on. He asked the Rotary Club for money and talked with the town of Snowmass Village. He convinced Harold Arnold to provide the turkeys.

“John tapped on the shoulders of people he knew and got them to volunteer,” she said.

Joan Bemis, the wife of the late John Bemis, the namesake behind the John Bemis Community Potluck, chats during the event’s return on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The event is held with the intention of being a nice dinner. There were no paper plates, plastic utensils or plastic tablecloths in sight. Each table was adorned with a nice cloth tablecloth and a floral centerpiece. The diners each brought a side dish or dessert.

Joan said the dinner is meant to be nice because so many people are spending their first holiday away from their families, and they deserve to be treated to a nice dinner.

The night kicked off with attendees chatting lively with each other and setting down whatever treat they brought.

“The fact that everyone brings a beautiful dish, it blows my mind,” said Leah Moriarty, a longtime Snowmass local.

Recently elected to his second term, Mayor Bill Madsen took the stage to greet everyone and thank those who supported the event: the Bemises, Alpine Bank, The town of Snowmass Village, Romero Group, Eastwood, East West, Snowmass Rotary Club and the Snowmass Chapel.

“Along with the Thursday night concerts, this is really an opportunity for our community to come together and an opportunity for us to get to know each other, exchange dialogue and talk about our community,” he said. “We want to be a tight-knit community, we want to lean on each other, lean into it, and make sure we don’t get too far out over our skis when we talk about the village.”

Going forward, Joan hopes the annual event changes its name to the Snowmass Village Community Potluck because there are so many people involved in making the event happen.

“It’s the community,” she said. “It’s not just John.”

People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Snowmass Village Mayor Bill Madsen, recently re-elected, welcomes guests to the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
A young Broncos fan enjoys the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Joan Bemis, third from right, the wife of the late John Bemis, the namesake behind the John Bemis Community Potluck, takes a photo with prominent members of the community during the event’s return on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Fun was had at the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
People load their plates during the John Bemis Community Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, at Viewline Resort in Snowmass Village.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times