‘Thanksgiving in Spring’ helps build community

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 01:10 PM

Wow, time flies! It’s a new year for new beginnings and new partnerships.

On May 3 is our annual Thanksgiving in Spring event (TiS14). Downtown Durham will host a bike parade and hack-a-thon (2-3 p.m.), a ¾-mile-long dinner table (3 .m.-6 p.m.) and a lantern parade (Illuminate Durham 6-9 p.m.).  The bike parade is a partnership with Bull City Play Streets, our version of a ciclovia, to bring the street back to the pedestrian and the cyclist.

Last year there were 700 attendees for the dinner. This year we expect more participants for the afternoon neighborhood potluck. What’s your family’s secret recipe? Vendors will line the table with community information and startups will showcase their newest technologies, while music will fill our ears. To walk off those extra pounds walk in the lantern parade from Old Five Points to Durham Central Park for desserts, a display of LED lights and more music. TiS14’s mission is to build communities and connect the Triangle through food, exercise, fellowship, exploration, creativity and fun!

Placemaking is key for sustainable communities. A deep understanding of civic spaces (parks, bus shelters, coffee shops, cafes) as special places that spawn new innovations and partnerships are part of our cultural fabric that not only creates value between neighborhoods but also connects communities. TiS14 provides that foundation -- those moments where we are reminded we are not alone, that we have common interests and most important that we collectively find solutions to challenges. What better way to have this conversation than around the dinner table. Innovation is a big component of TiS14. Lately the term ‘hacker’ is has become synonymous with one who finds potential in the ordinary, improves upon an existing condition, finds excitement in the unknown and shares that knowledge.

TiS14 challenges all of us to hack our perceptions, assumptions and misconceptions of people, place and community. Join us on May 3for this resident-led event and let’s have a dialogue and move forward together.

By Wanona Satcher is creator and project director of the Durham Urban Innovation Center (DUIC).

The DUIC is a division within Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services that specializes in resident-driven innovations.