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Maine Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, meaning it’s time to start planning how to celebrate the holiday. In Maine, Thanksgiving, like most places, often is celebrated with a traditional turkey dinner with the family. For those on campus, going home to family is a large part of the holiday break.

“I have family in Pennsylvania so we visit them and have a big dinner,” Ellery Macgregor, a second-year student who is originally from Maine.

“We visit family in Iowa. We usually have dinner and hang out. Sometimes we get to see wild turkeys,” Izzy Kostelnick said, a second-year student from Illinois.

Another popular Thanksgiving tradition is watching the special events on TV.

“While the food is cooking – we all help make the food – my whole family watches the Macy’s Day Parade,” Erin Ciampa said, a second-year student from Massachusetts.

“We usually have football on,” Amanda Levesque said, a second-year student from Massachusetts. 

On campus, events are put on throughout November for Native American Heritage Month. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is putting on a family feast on Nov. 17. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will take place in the North Pod of the Memorial Union.

The Multicultural Student Center has historically put on this dinner featuring Native American heritage. The dinner is meant to highlight how Thanksgiving is honored in other cultures as well as to enjoy their traditional dishes. 

Another on-campus alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving was put on by the Rainbow Resource Center. Their “Gay Thanksgiving” was open to members of the LGBTQ community who were unable to go home for the holiday as well as to anyone who wished to attend. 

Branching off campus, there is Orono’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. The Scott Scripture Memorial Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be held in person as well as serve delivery meals that can be signed up for on the town of Orono’s website.

Also celebrating the holiday is L.L. Bean, which kicks off its annual northern lights event on Nov. 18. The initial day will have the lighting of the tree and events will continue daily through the end of December.

Across Maine, popular tourist destinations try to draw in those who wish to travel for the holiday. Bar Harbor, Camden, Kennebunkport and others present themselves as being ideal places for a Thanksgiving getaway.  

Thanksgiving aligns for hunters with deer season, moose season, the end of bear season, as well as pheasant, quail and ruffed grouse season all happening around it. 

Maine also participates in the trend of turkey trots. The 5k runs take place across the state in the week around Thanksgiving and, in many cases, take place at high schools. The run nearest the university campus is at Brewer High School on Nov. 20. It has an in-person option and a virtual option and can be registered for on the school’s website. Registration must be completed before Nov. 19. 

No matter how the holiday is celebrated, students can all enjoy a break from classes. This year’s break runs from Nov. 23 to 27.


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