Top 5 Thanksgiving ‘To Do’s’ in the Bay

Top 5 Thanksgiving ‘To Do’s’ in the Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read November 2019 Thanksgiving season has once again descended upon the Tampa Bay region. While the holiday is traditionally known for the three F’s, food, family and football, there are other options available to those in the Tampa Bay region who are looking to break traditions and start new ones. These options range from activities that will help work up an appetite for the big meal to options that completely change course from the normal fixings of a Thanksgiving meal. Invest: explores five of the best alternatives for those looking to shake up their Thanksgiving experience.

 Turkey Trots

A traditional Thanksgiving meal is known for two things: oversupply and overconsumption. There may be no better way to prepare the body for this endeavour than participating in one of the variety of “turkey trots” and “fun runs” available to the public on Thanksgiving Day. These exercise-driven events include the Goody Goody Turkey Gobble, which starts at 7 a.m. in front of the Amalie Arena and features options like a 5K, 8K or 1-mile course to be walked or ran. There is also the Clearwater-based Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot, which has become the largest running event in the Tampa Bay area with an annual average of participation from over 17,000 runners. 


Thanksgiving Cruises

Breaking tradition can be difficult, but a Thanksgiving dinner on a yacht may make that change a bit easier to digest. The company Yacht StarShip offers an opportunity to feast on traditional Thanksgiving foods in a completely nontraditional fashion. With options to sail in either Clearwater or Tampa, the promise of no meal preparation or cleanup, and the chance to truly relax for the holiday, a yacht cruise for the night could be a welcomed change from the norm. 

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Wonderland Of Lights And Santa’s Village

Besides being a day to enjoy a nice meal with family, for some, Thanksgiving also signifies the official countdown to Christmas Day. In the Tampa Bay region, residents can begin this countdown with a visit to the Wonderland Of Lights And Santa’s Village. This holiday theme park becomes available to the public Thanksgiving Day and runs until Jan. 5. Theme park visitors can partake in the amusement rides, camel rides, over a mile of light displays and everything else this park has to offer. This is a great option for those looking to not completely break tradition, as the park offers the opportunity to enjoy all its amenities at night, giving time for the traditional Thanksgiving meal at home beforehand. 

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13th Annual ThanksVegan Feast

It may be a holiday best known for a feast centered around poultry, but that does not mean that there aren’t options in the region for those who prefer veggies over meat. For the last 13 years, Florida Voices for Animals has been holding their annual ThanksVegan Feast that features zero animal products or byproducts. Held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, this potluck dinner encourages those attending to bring a vegan dish to contribute to the holiday feast. The event runs from 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and includes a raffle with prizes. 

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Black Friday Shopping

While technically starting the day following Thanksgiving, some Black Friday deals become available to the public the night of the 28th. For some, it has become a tradition to go straight from their Thanksgiving meal to waiting overnight in lines that sometimes stretch multiple blocks, all with the intention of cashing in on mega savings. Thankfully for the residents of Tampa Bay, the region not only offers access to all of the big box retailers, it is also home to a variety of world-class shopping malls like International Plaza and Bay Street, Hyde Park Village and many others.