Stanly County celebrates Thanksgiving with restricted events, dinners

OAKBORO — Limited and adapted Thanksgiving celebrations will be taking place across Stanly County on Thursday as residents seek to enjoy the beginning of the holiday season with their families while also staying safe from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

On Wednesday, the Oakboro Police Department will be having a “Give thanks for all community dinner.” The event will be happening at the police department’s headquarters on West Third Street, where “prepackaged dinners are available for drive-thru pick up.” For those who cannot make it in person, the social media posting says, “Delivery is available in the Oakboro area.” 

On Thanksgiving Day, the 18th annual Turkey Trot, put on by the Uwharrie Running Club, will continue as planned in Albemarle.  

A post on the group’s site explained how they were planning on adjusting their event to comply with COVID safety recommendations. This year, instead of collecting food donations, the Turkey Trot will be collecting money for Stanly Community Christian Ministries, saying, “So far we have raised $1,100.00 for the worthy cause.” 

The run will begin at 6:45 a.m. at the YMCA park at 427 N. First St. in Albemarle, but there will be a 45-minute window to begin, so runners can start as late as 7:30 a.m. The run is 4.2 miles.  

Back in Oakboro, the day after Thanksgiving there will be an “Oakboro Cruise-in” from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event, which is billed as the “largest cruise-in held in a North Carolina downtown,” happens every fourth Friday and features many classic cars and other eye-catching vehicles.  

But for many in Stanly County, and across the country, the highlight of the holiday is a turkey dinner with extended family and friends. State officials are not outright advising against this, but they have been suggesting that this year it should be done with extra caution and limits.  

“The best way to protect loved ones during Thanksgiving is to limit travel and gatherings with anyone who does not live in your household,” N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen said in a press release.  

To put more muscle behind Cohen’s guidance on travel and hosting during Thanksgiving, Gov. Roy Cooper then officially reduced the limits on gatherings from 25 to 10. 

“Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and many North Carolinians are focused on how to celebrate the holiday amid the pandemic,” Cooper said at a Nov. 10 press conference. “This reduction in the indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers.”