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COVID-19 changes Aiken's Thanksgiving plans, but holiday still will be celebrated

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Covid-19 changes Aiken's Thanksgiving plans, but holiday still will be celebrated 1

Spectators enjoy a past Blessing of the Hounds at Memorial Gate in Hitchcock Woods on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving will be different in Aiken this year.

The Aiken Land Conservancy’s Bloodies and Bagels, held in the past on the lawn of the Aiken County Historical Museum, has been canceled and so has the public Blessing of the Hounds ceremony at Memorial Gate in Hitchcock Woods.

Also called off was One Table, the free community Thanksgiving dinner that took place downtown in the Alley.

All had become traditions, and all drew big crowds, but the novel coronavirus pandemic caused their organizers to scrub the plans for their 2020 renewals.

But the celebration of the holiday locally will go on without them.

A new event is scheduled for Thursday at Generations Park at 700 Mack Henry Holland Drive.

During the Our Family Dinner Table Community Thanksgiving Dinner, free food will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and there will be musical entertainment from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For people unable to drive or ride with someone to Generations Park, free transportation will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be four pickup locations:

• The H. Odell Weeks Activities Center at 1700 Whiskey Road.

• Citizens Park at 651 Old Airport Road.

• Gyles Park near the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum at 406 Park Ave. S.E.

• KJ’s Market at 1048 York St. N.E.

Teaming up to plan the dinner are GROW Aiken, RePioneering Church, LaRahna Hughes, Eva Finnie and others.

For more information, call 803-443-6735.

Families and friends also will gather Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving privately.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control offers suggestions about how the holiday can be observed safely at

The agency lists the following as “lower risk” activities:

• Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.

• Preparing food for family and neighbors – especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 – and delivering it in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.

• Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.

• Shopping online rather than in person on Black Friday or the following Monday.

• Watching sports events, parades and movies at home.

According to DHEC, enjoying a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community is a “moderate risk” activity.

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