HERRIN — Bocce lessons, movies, NFL games and an evening dance are among the highlights of this year’s Herrin Community Thanksgiving.
Activities begin at 8 a.m. and continue until midnight Thursday at Herrin Civic Center. The festival of events commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first community Thanksgiving dinner started in 1988 by the late Mayor Ed Quaglia.
“If you’ve never played bocce or if you’ve never played bocce well, drop by at 2 p.m. and we’ll explain the rules, form teams and start playing. There’ll be no entry fees, no cash prizes, no trophies — just basic, bare-bones bocce,” said Bart Mann, Herrin Community Thanksgiving coordinator,
Donuts and coffee will be available at 8 a.m., and guests will have the opportunity to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade at 9 a.m. A traditional dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with music by Donnie Falknor.
At 11:30 a.m., NFL football fans may watch the Green Bay Packers go up against the Detroit Lions. Guests also may enjoy board games and cards from 2 p.m. to midnight, and bocce lessons for beginners will be from 2 to 4 p.m.
A cartoon movie will be shown at 3 p.m., followed by an adventure movie at 4:30 p.m., Thanksgiving supper from 5 to 7 p.m. and a family movie at 7 p.m.
NFL football returns at 8:45 p.m. with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. And, to cap off the night, a dance featuring Music in Motion will begin at 8:45 p.m. and last until midnight.
“Some historians believe that the three-day Thanksgiving in 1621 included storytelling,” Mann said. “The Indians recounted legends that had been passed down from generation to generation, and the Pilgrims talked about a magical, mystical land far, far away. Of course, the Herrin Thanksgiving certainly cannot match that. It’ll just have storytelling by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and Walt Disney.”
All activities are free. Civic organizations, businesses and churches pay for everything. Throughout the day, a webcam will be available for families to visit with overseas service members via Skype. Families need to arrange in advance a time for those visits.
Homebound Herrin and Energy residents, who are unable to attend, should call Herrin City Clerk’s office at 618-942-3175 no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday to schedule the home delivery of a Thanksgiving dinner.
“We need volunteers, more volunteers than ever before, particularly in the late afternoon and evening,” Mann added.
For more information, visit Facebook or call Mann at 618-942-5080.