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Friday Favorites: Local Thanksgiving Celebrations


Whether you’re the Thanksgiving type to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show, or keep it simple with football, you’re in luck because those televised events have not been canceled this year. But what about the gatherings, parades, and Turkey Trots?

All around the country Thanksgiving is looking a little different this year. But while the celebrations might look different, it doesn’t mean they’ve stopped! So here are some of the ways KMers around the country will be celebrating Thanksgiving locally, safely, and socially distanced.

Atlanta, GA

Get your whole holiday bubble together for a fun scavenger hunt courtesy of the Georgia chapter of the American Lung Association. In the suburb of Atlanta, Decatur, this virtual scavenger hunt offers the fall fun you’ve been craving. When you sign up for the Puzzle Walk as it has been named, you will receive a packet of puzzles solvable from local checkpoints that lead you to the next clue.

The activity is meant to encourage you to enjoy the sights, sounds, and fresh air as you get out there and walk. And not only is it a fun activity, but your $35 registration helps raise money to end lung disease and address COVID-19 research.

Austin, TX

One of the things Austin is most known for is its public art. And with most of it being outside, it makes it easy to enjoy via car or socially distanced walk. Whether on the side of a building, in an alleyway, or on a bridge, these installations can be found everywhere. And walking from mural to mural is a great way to burn off some of those mashed potatoes after your big meal.

Better yet, think about sending out a 2020 Holiday Card with those in your bubble, a fun twist on the traditional family pic, using one of the many murals as a backdrop. If you head to South Congress you’ll find many of the most famous murals and right now Kendra Scott’s flagship store just put one up specifically for holiday photos.

Chicago, IL

Less of a virtual experience and more of an experience for your taste buds. Place a preorder of a pie from Justice of the Pies during their Thanksgiving preorder (until Nov. 22). We know what you’re thinking, pies are pretty standard Thanksgiving dessert, why these pies? Well because these are not your standard flavors, they include Strawberry Basil Key Lime, Blue Cheese Praline Pear, and Salted Caramel Peach pie.

So whether you’re having dinner at home or with your bubble, mix it up this year with these amazing pie options. Brunch more your vibe, be sure to check out their Fig + Pig quiche for a real treat.

Columbus, OH

If you are looking for a unique gift but the local crafts fair was canceled this year, then the Ohio Designer Craftsmen have got you covered with their Virtual Winterfair. What is traditionally an in-person craft fair in both Columbus and Cincinnati now allows for shoppers from around the country to shop their wares online.

From jewelry to stuffed animals to paintings to ham (yes, ham), there are so many wonderful options for gifting and enjoying this holiday season.

Dallas, TX

If you ever dreamed of a Candy Land board game coming to life then The Gingerbread Stroll is for you! Held in Highland Park Village, top chefs from around the greater Dallas area create some of the most elaborate Gingerbread displays you’ve ever seen.

At the end of the event, the gingerbread houses are then auctioned off and the proceeds go towards a children’s charity, Community Partners of Dallas. So if you’ve been looked for a good cause to donate to and the pièce de resistance for your holiday decorations, they’ve got you covered.

Denver, CO

Some may remember or had heard of a magical place last year call Camp Christmas where 70,000 happy campers immersed themselves in an interactive Christmas experience in Aurora produced by Denver Center for the Performing Arts and artist Lonnie Hanzon. Well, this year they have moved the fun online so the memories can still be made from afar.

We don’t want to give too much away but there are physical packages you’ll receive to help you achieve merit badges via the online site which range from $35 to $55. If you’re staying in this season with those in your bubble Camp Christmas is a marvelous way to pass the time.

Houston, TX

Looking for a safe, socially distanced Thanksgiving Dinner out? Perhaps you’re looking for something as unique as 2020 has been. Well, look no further than the Downtown Aquarium. Yes, perhaps your Thanksgiving group is a little smaller this year but this feast with the fishes is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Your meal will include roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, and dessert so you won’t be missing out on any of the holiday favorites. Be sure to make reservations in advance as well, adult meals are $25.99, and kids 10 and under are $9.50. To reserve, click here.

Los Angeles, CA

Located just 30 minutes from downtown LA, The Pomona Fairplex is hosting the Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey. While LA is typically known for its traffic and spending any extra time in your car is not desirable, since many are working from home right now, you might be itching for a driving adventure.

The Magical Holiday Journey lasts about an hour is a musical experience where you “shrink” down to Elf size to help Santa regain flight through holiday spirit. And if you’ve been missing your musicals, this event is even more so for you! Tickets on Thanksgiving are $40 for adults and $35 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are free. Each car must purchase at least two and no more than eight tickets.

Minneapolis, MN

If giving back is important to you this Thanksgiving but you’re limited due to local restrictions, consider joining The Virtual Walk to End Hunger. This any age, family activity is a great way to kick off your Thanksgiving and help raise funds for nine Twin Cities-based hunger relief organizations.

While this is an important issue any year, this year in particular many Minnesotans have been faced with the loss of food security due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 100% of the net proceeds from the walk are going to organizations aimed at supported people through that. For more information or to register, check out The Virtual Walk to End Hunger’s website.

New York, NY

Ice skating outside in New York City is a winter rite of passage. And while so much might look different this year, thankfully there are still safe options available to do this around the city. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is certainly one of those special spots (and the only free one).

The Winter Village has limited reservations available for each skating time slot and requires face masks (which if you’ve ever been in NYC around Thanksgiving you know it can get cold so no complaints here on an extra layer of warmth). Once you’re done skating, be sure to grab a socially distanced cocktail at The Lodge Deck or browse the gift vendors in the Holiday Shops.

Seattle, WA

Two of our favorite winter traditions in Seattle take place at the Fairmont Olympia annually, The Festival of Trees and the Teddy Bear Suite which both raise funds for the Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This year, while both experiences are continuing they look a little different.

The Festival of Trees in which decorated trees are typically available for viewing in the hotel have now been moved to hotel windows viewable from the 4th Avenue sidewalk or on their website. The trees are also available for purchase up until November 22nd but will be on display until December 2nd. As for the Teddy Bear Suite, will you won’t be able to see it in person this year, do check out The Olympia’s Facebook page as the bears are taking it over! On top of that, they will be hosting various holiday giveaways beginning on November 21st so that is certainly not be missed either!

St. Louis, MO

A Thanksgiving event many St. Louisans head downtown for Thanksgiving morning is our Thanksgiving Day Parade. And while you won’t be able to make that annual pilgrimage this year, enjoy watching the parade from the comfort of your couch without ever changing out of your pajamas.

The parade will be airing Thursday, the 26th from 10 am to 11 am on Channel 4/KMOV and featuring many of the local performance groups and local attractions! If you are a parade fiend like us, you could even watch the last hour of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at the same time (can you say split screen?).

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