A popular holiday tradition in Stratford turned 25 this weekend.

“To Stratford with Love” is a free banquet overseen by Christian ministry Simple Dreams.

The event, which took place Saturday evening at the Rotary Complex, drew hundreds of people.

“I think it’s really important in the fact that, for one night of the year, everybody can come together and celebrate Christmas for what it is,” says Richard Kneider with Simple Dreams.

The menu featured roast beef, baked potatoes, vegetables, coleslaw, buns and homemade pies.

All of the food was donated by area restaurants and local churches.

We’re told a single mother from Stratford even baked 800 cookies for dessert.

Organizers say the banquet is a chance to celebrate the true meaning of the season.

“People in the community think that we’re a very affluent city,” says Richard. “But the more and more people that we come in contact with, [we find] there are people in our city [whose] kids are sleeping on the floor and they don’t have beds to sleep on.”