Sanford and Hegstad families find ways to keep 50 year tradition alive


Last year I brought you the story of the Sanford and Hegstad families’ 50th consecutive Thanksgiving together. And, although the Coronavirus is still causing problems across the state, the two families were not about to to let the pandemic completely ruin their day.

“As much as we love being together and as much as we love that tradition, we love our families more. And we value their well being more,” said Loretta Hegstad.

A traditional Sanford Hegstad Thanksgiving is quite the occasion. Typically between the two families there can easily be 35 people or more that get together.

“We changed our minds, at least I did, about four times as to what we were going to do and well lets do it this way or lets try it this way and finally at the end we just decided it wasn’t really worth the risk and each family had to stay with their own group and do it that way,” said Jean Sanford.

After 50 years the mantle had been passed from one generation to the next, Gerry and Loretta’s daughter Holly was going to be this years host.

“And I assume I don’t get to just pass off my responsibilities to the next person because this year’s relatively easy. So yeah I’m hopeful that next year our circumstances will change, we’ll all be healthy we’ll be able to travel we’ll be able to spend time together and we’ll have lots of time to plan an even bigger celebration!” said Holly Hegstad.

But what of the 50 year streak? Most people would probably say it’s now broken.

“I think the streak will go on,” said Doug Sanford.

“In our mind it’s not broken nope,” said Gerry Hegstad.

“Well I don’t consider the streak broken because you know there have been years that blizzards have interrupted things a little bit, there have been years that certain members of the family have not been able to be present, so we’re just going to be present in different ways this year,” said Holly.

And both families are waiting to see if things improve, no matter how long it takes.

“We’re hoping even if it takes until fall, I think we’ll probably have two Thanksgivings,” said Gerry.

I was able to join the families on their zoom call earlier today and while it wasn’t the same as last year, it was great to see them all again for Thanksgiving.

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