10 Community Thanksgiving Event Ideas You Can Try

community thanksgiving

Community Thanksgiving events are a great way to get residents involved while celebrating the holiday at the same time. You can plan several events, from a classic Thanksgiving dinner to volunteering together as a community. If you have no idea where to start, you have come to the right place.


How to Celebrate Community Thanksgiving With Events

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, meaning communities should mobilize now to organize a meaningful and memorable event. The problem with community events is that most people don’t know what kind of event they should throw.

Here are the best Thanksgiving community event ideas you can try.


1. Host a Community Thanksgiving Feast

You can’t have a proper Thanksgiving without Thanksgiving dinner, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a community feast?

A community Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect event to get neighbors under the same roof and break bread together. Depending on how large your community is and how many people will attend, you will need to find a sizable space for this. A local community hall, church, or HOA clubhouse works well.

As for the food, you can ask attendees to bring food for sharing (potluck-style) or hire a caterer, which may cost more but is certainly more convenient. If you opt for the latter, you can partner with local businesses and hit two birds with one stone.


2. Assemble a Community Donation Drive

thanksgiving community event ideas

If you’re in need of Thanksgiving community ideas, consider planning a donation drive. You can go for the classic canned food drive or a clothing drive. You can even go for the more unconventional route and plan a blood drive. Donation drives are great because they encourage residents to get involved and give back to the community at the same time.


3. Organize an Outdoor Fall Festival

If you have a large budget for Thanksgiving community events, try organizing an outdoor fall festival. The beauty of a fall festival is that you have complete control of what you want it to include. Everything from performances by local musicians and carnival rides to game booths and food stalls are all viable selections. You can even lean hard on the fall theme and set up pumpkin carving stations.

If you don’t have a big budget, a simple outdoor activity works just as well. Some ideas include picnics in the park, scavenger hunts, hayrides, and outdoor movie nights. You don’t have to break the bank to have a thriving community Thanksgiving event.


4. Put Together a Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patches may be more popular around Halloween, but they’re also great for Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are practically synonymous with everything fall-related.

Considering that, put together a pumpkin patch for your community. This is particularly good for communities with a large population of kids. If you don’t have space, you can partner with a local farm. The goal is to bring people together and participate in group activities, so plan the event with this objective.


5. Organize a Thanksgiving Fun Run

thanksgiving community events

What’s Thanksgiving without a fun run? To make it more on-theme, go with a turkey fun run, also known as a turkey trot. To pull this off, all you need to do is invite the community to dress up as turkeys and go on a 5K run to celebrate Thanksgiving. You can also include other activities such as the egg spoon race, a relay race, a three-legged race, and a scarecrow-building competition.


6. Host a Community-Wide Yard Sale

The holiday season is the perfect time to declutter and reset. Naturally, residents will end up with many old or unwanted items. Instead of throwing them away, they can find a new home through a community yard sale.

If circumstances allow, you could ask residents to donate their unwanted items to the association. The association can then sell them at a yard sale, donating the proceeds to a local charity. Alternatively, you can donate the items directly to local shelters or nonprofits.


7. Plan a Thanksgiving-Themed Quiz Night

Try a quiz night if you want an exciting way to celebrate Thanksgiving in your community. Everyone loves to flex their trivia knowledge; a quiz night is the perfect avenue. Since it’s Thanksgiving, ensure all the questions are related to the holiday or the season. You can even charge a small fee for people to enter the contest and donate the proceeds to a charity.


8. Schedule a Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Day

This one is good for communities with a lot of families. Parents and kids can participate in a fun arts and crafts session — creating hand turkeys, decorating pumpkins, writing Thanksgiving cards, and drawing different pictures. The best thing about this event idea is that it brings people together while also staying budget-friendly.


9. Plan a Football Party

thanksgiving in your community

For a lot of people, Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without football. Football is very effective when it comes to bringing people together, whether at a larger scale like the NFL or something more local like college football. As such, you can never go wrong with a football party.

There are a few ways you can accomplish this. Depending on your circumstances and resources, you can attend the game as a group or host a tailgate party. If you’re too far away or money is tight, you can host a virtual watch party or simply put the game on while you have a Thanksgiving party at home.


10. Volunteer as a Community

Not everyone has access to a warm Thanksgiving community dinner, so why not show some compassion and share your blessings by volunteering? You can volunteer as a community by serving meals at a food bank or local soup kitchen, helping out at a local animal shelter, or organizing clean-up initiatives. Many nonprofit organizations have programs and chapters across the country, including Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, and The Salvation Army.

Keep in mind that Thanksgiving tends to be the most popular time to volunteer. Thus, you should expect volunteer opportunities to be quite scarce. To avoid last-minute availability issues, make sure to call ahead.


Have a Happy Community Thanksgiving!

Holiday events are great for bringing people together and sharing the community spirit. Make this a Thanksgiving to remember by planning one or more of these event ideas.



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