Thanksgiving in Spring: Look for the big table

Apr. 29, 2014 @ 07:44 PM

For the second year in a row, residents from the Durham area are invited to share a meal together during Thanksgiving in Spring.

The main event is the dinner, to be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday in Durham Central Park. Tootie’s Mobile Kitchen & Catering will serve Cuban, Mexican, Vegan and other food for free. Diners are welcome to bring a dish as well.

Organizers last year hoped to draw about 100 diners, but some 700 people showed up, said Wanona Satcher, project manager of the Durham Urban Innovation Center, part of the city’s department of Neighborhood Improvement Services.

“Everybody wanted us to do it again, so here we are,” Satcher said.

Thanksgiving in Spring grew out of the innovation center’s Build a Better Block Project, which started in 2012 to improve some neighborhoods. Organizers were thinking of a creative way to celebrate the spirit of those community-building events with a block party, and Thanksgiving in Spring was born.

The meal at what organizers are calling “North Carolina’s Longest Dinner Table” was the main event last year. This year’s event has some added attractions.

The event begins at 2 p.m. with a bike parade. All cyclists are welcome to participate, along with skateboarders and walkers. The parade begins at Mangum and Main, proceeds west on Main, east on Chapel Hill Street, then north on Foster to the site of the dinner. 

The closing event will be a lantern parade. Participants have made lanterns from goods at The Scrap Exchange, and will march to “illuminate Durham.” The parade starts at 8 p.m. Parade participants will march from West Corporation Street, head north on Morris Street, east on Geer, then south on Rigsbee Avenue, circling back on West Corporation and south on Foster Street and Durham Central Park.

Streets along the bike and lantern parade routes will be closed to traffic until all participants return to Central Park. Foster Street at Durham Central Park closes to traffic from 1 to 10 p.m.

After the lantern parade, participants can attend an ice cream social and a Smart Kids Rock Fashion Show. Other activities include a beat battle by Durham Hip-Hop Summit, vendors, acrobats and aerialists.

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