Seven Mile Times

Holiday 2018

Avalon's Thanksgiving Traditions

By Patrice Davis

Mayor Pagliughi and Santa get ready to light the tree at Veterans Plaza.

Chloe Schfaeffer and Jack Juska checked out the trees and wreaths at the Festival of Trees.

Traditions. That is what we are loving right now. Thanksgiving! Family! Turkey! Avalon! Thanks to the hard work of the retail stores and restaurants around Avalon, what was once a quiet weekend at the shore has become anything but. We have children’s characters, we have rides, we have bounce houses, we have shopping and, yes – We. Have. Santa. – twice! Avalon has it all, people! If Avalon on Thanksgiving isn’t already a tradition for you and your family members, then you are seriously missing out. Skip the stuffing and stuffy holidays of old, and come to Avalon – where the island feel mixes with the small-town holiday traditions that make for one amazing weekend.


Tradition: Deck the Halls

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to start off a fun-filled weekend with cozy fireside cocktails and the perusing of more than 30 trees and wreaths at the annual Festival of Trees. The Whitebrier starts this fun-packed weekend on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 5pm with the kickoff of this event. From “Frozen” to “Fifty Shades,” the lottery to library books, these trees feature it all. Look for that one tree that would fit perfectly in the living room – it could very well become yours! The bidding continues as the event reopens on Friday from noon to 8pm. The top bidders of all the trees and wreaths will be alerted at the conclusion of the auction and can pick up their wares on Saturday.


Vanessa Forero and Erica Gioffre participated in the 2017 Turkey Trot.


Tradition: String Bean Casserole

Dear Ms. Reilly – Can I call you Dorcas? Your string bean casserole has been on the menu for the Gallagher/Miner Thanksgiving my entire life, and likely so much longer than that. I fondly recall the year my dad came home with the wrong type of string bean and my mother threatened to cancel Thanksgiving in totality. This Thanksgiving, we will host a moment of silence, in memory of your cream of mushroom, string bean, crispy onion-ring deliciousness – and then we will heap seconds, and likely thirds onto our too-full plates. And that, my fellow readers, is why the annual Turkey Trot 5K and 1.5-mile Family Walk is so very important.


On Friday, Nov. 23, join me for a peaceful sprint through the north end of Avalon for a tradition that helps me feel not so gluttonous after heaping seconds and thirds of those Thanksgiving tradition sides. Buttery mashed potatoes – a hindsight! Cranberry sauce – your sugar calories are no match! Pumpkin Pie – well, we’ll chat after New Year’s but alas my calories will feel the burn as I join more than 600 fellow trotters and run for an amazing cause – the Helen L. Diller Vacation Home for Blind Children. Commit early! Register right now by going to and that way those tryptophan trips are well worth it because you ran a 5K … right?


Keira Thomas got her face painted at Festive Friday.


Tradition: Making Childhood Memories

We eat, we drink, we trot … and now comes time for the children of the family to reign. After a full day of family togetherness, it’s time to bust out of that house and set those children free. And Avalon has a major list of activities to keep them entertained from morning to night. Start early and cheer me on in my slow pace at the Turkey Trot! Then grab a schedule, plan accordingly and get ready to snap some pretty fabulous family-fun photos because Festive Friday has hit Avalon. Starting at 11am, the town of Avalon transforms into Main Street of Magic Kingdom. Parades, character meet-and-greets, crafts, and more! A jam-packed day is here and ready to entertain children of all ages with hands-on fun and photo ops.


New for 2018, families can actually dance their way down Dune Drive with the help of The Corner Boys & Co. Hol-

iday Band playing fun holiday tunes throughout the day. In between sets, join in a number of interactive children’s performances including a Trollstice celebration and sing-alongs with your favorite superheroes and characters. Get a hot chocolate, sit and relax, get cozy and warm up for these fun and festive performances! And that’s not all – along with the business-sponsored activities throughout Avalon, be sure to stop by Veterans Plaza for additional interactive events including a Hogwarts sorting ceremony, minions, karaoke and more!


Have you hit every event, activity and character station? Great! But don’t leave just yet. Get a spot at Veterans Plaza and cheer on Santa as he arrives in town at 5pm. There will be time to meet the man himself and review your lengthy list of requests. Try not to stay too late, because you need time to rest and restore for another fun day in just a few short hours.


Dillon, Reed and Elliott Harris posed in the iconic Avalon lifeboat during Festive Friday.


Tradition: Santa! We Know Him!

Saturday begins and Snowfest has arrived, so pack up the kids and be sure to return to Avalon for another day of fun-filled activities that are entirely different from Friday’s! Climb the Mount Avalon rock wall and compete in the Polar Extreme Obstacle Course. Jump to new heights on the Polar Bear Bungee trampoline and spin on the Jack Frost Mini Tea Cups, plus a number of fun-themed bounce houses so all ages can participate!


Entertainment includes holiday performances by The Marinos Band and children’s performances in-between, including a princess showcase and a sing-along from our favorite “Frozen” sisters. And if that’s not enough, be sure to head to Veterans Plaza where Santa returns for an entire day of free family photos.


And so, you find yourself at the tail end of an event-packed weekend of family togetherness, fun, photo ops and of course, traditions. Myself, I love this tradition and how it kick-starts the holiday celebrations straight through to the New Year. There is something for every age to enjoy, and what’s better than a long weekend at the beach? A Thanksgiving long weekend at the beach! See you there!

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