Author: Ryan

Highland Park’s Harvest Dinner is a Community Connection

Highland Park’s Harvest Dinner is a Community Connection

How Californians Celebrate Thanksgiving in 2022

With turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, Thanksgiving becomes an almost inevitable event around the world. But in Santa Clara County, California, it happens on the first Saturday in November.

As they mark more than 300 years of Thanksgiving, the annual dinner at Highland Park’s Harvest Dinner, which began as an informal evening for local families, became an invitation to many who never made the trek east.

“I do think Thanksgiving and everything that goes on around it is huge in the community. It’s such a tradition for our community to have that annual event.” — Mayor Bill Bogaard, Highland Park

This year, the Highland Park city commission will host its third annual Harvest Dinner on Friday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m. at Highland Park High School. The event will take place in the city’s historic theater building, which once hosted the city’s first electric-powered streetcar. This year’s Harvest Dinner is expected to attract more than 1,000 guests.

The event will be followed by the traditional gathering at Highland Park for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, at 6:30 p.m. at the school’s front steps.

For now, the Harvest Dinner serves as the center of the community. “I think that’s what this event really becomes about: connecting our community,” said Highland Park’s Assistant Mayor Bill Bogaard.

In the past, the Highland Park Community Center has served as the Harvest Dinner venue. This year, the Community Center will host a large fundraising event that provides the city with a substantial amount of financial support for the dinner.

The Highland Park Community Center is also the location of the Harvest Dinner’s annual Candlelight Service, a night of family-style meals for a large community. For a small donation, local children can participate in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year’s Candlelight Service is set for 7 p.m. at the Highland Park Community Center.

And, while the town hall has been traditionally the site of the Harvest Dinner, this year Highland Park is celebrating the occasion in a special way. And it’s a local resident’s idea.

In the city, the Harvest Dinner has been a longstanding tradition and a social event, said Highland Park City Administrator Ryan Hagan,

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