Free Thanksgiving feast goes Hawaiian
THE CROWD LITERALLY flows over into the staircases at the Sonoma Community Center’s annul free Thanksgiving.
Sonoma Community Center’s annual free Thanksgiving dinner features the culinary talents of volunteer chefs Matt Murray, Gary Edwards, Jon Deiderich, Sue Patterson and Lisa Thayer. The group will be joined by a special out-of-town guest chef and friend of Sonoma, Norman Piianaia.
Piianaia is a close friend of the group of chefs and hails from Hawaii. After working as a captain on a cargo ship responsible for the movement of goods from the West Coast to Hawaii, Piianaia has retired and was compelled to recreate Sonoma Community Center’s free Thanksgiving Dinner in his own town. “I was inspired by what’s going on here, so I figured I’d come to Sonoma this year and learn the ropes,” said Piianaia, “and then next year, we’ll all go back to my town and do the same thing there.”
As a nod to Piianaia’s Hawaiian roots, this year’s dinner will include some traditional Hawaiian fare, including a whole roast suckling pig. The gourmet, locally sourced dinner will also feature more traditional Thanksgiving offerings, including Willie Bird organic turkeys, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fresh-baked bread and homemade desserts. The Thanksgiving dinner is served on a first-come, first-served basis, buffet-style. No reservations are accepted.
Guests are encouraged to bring their own wine and share with tablemates. A limited amount of wine will be sold by
the glass to guests ages 21 and up.
Doors open at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24, and dinner will be served until 5 p.m., or until food runs out. The line for dinner begins forming around 2:30 p.m.
The community center’s Thanksgiving dinner is a CittaSlow-approved event, meaning that it follows the tenants including using locally sourced, organic food and volunteer labor. Donations have come in from CittaSlow Sonoma Valley, the Red Grape, Rotary of Sonoma Valley, Paul’s Produce, Whole Foods, Green String Farms, Safeway, Broadway Catering, Carneros Caves, Elaine Belle, Basque Boulangerie, Homewood Winery, Tin Barn and David Cook.
Volunteers are needed for set-up, dinner host, and cleanup shifts. Children ages 12 and up only. Those interested in volunteering for one of these shifts should call the community center at 938-4626, ext. 1. Homemade desserts and other food and preparation donations are also appreciated. Cash donations are gratefully accepted, and will help offset the cost of producing this free community dinner, as part of the Sonoma Community Center’s mission to provide cultural, educational and community services to the people of Sonoma Valley.
The center is located at 276 E. Napa St.