By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its second annual Community Thanksgiving Meal to give thanks and to honor the spirit of the people of Hartsville.

The meal will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 4-7 p.m. at the Eleanor Ford Theatre in Trousdale County High School.

“The idea behind the Thanksgiving dinner is to bring longtime residents and new residents together, to take time to introduce each other and build that sense of community,” said Chamber Director Natalie Knudsen.

Chris Gregory / File / Hartsville Vidette
Members of the community enjoyed food and fellowship at the 2016 Thanksgiving Meal.

The meal will be free to all who attend and will consist of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie, and will be available in either a regular or light portion. There will be wait staff on hand as well.

While requests for to-go meals were honored last year, Knudsen said that will not be the case this year.

“There will be no to-go boxes unless you are a Meals on Wheels customer or if you call in and make a request,” Knudsen said. “Leave a name, address and phone number, and we will contact them so you’re not having someone knock on your door at night unexpected.”

Anyone who is unable to attend can request a meal be delivered by contacting the Chamber at 615-374-9243. Deliveries will be made by members of the Volunteer Fire Department.

The event has grown substantially in just one year.

“Last year we planned to feed 500 people, and we were out of food in about an hour and a half,” Knudsen said. “We’re planning for 800 this year.”

There will be a 30’ x 50’ tent outside the auditorium where those in attendance can enjoy pie and coffee, hosted by the Red Hat Ladies.

There will also be a slideshow on the history of Hartsville, artwork from local students and gospel and bluegrass music.

“The Church of the Firstborn has worked with (county historian) John Oliver to create a slideshow of Hartsville that will be on two big screens,” Knudsen said. “I think that will be amazing to see.”

Live entertainment inside will include Jimmy Rayburn, Dr. Cassandra Bates, the Smith Chapel singers and local clogger Emily Brown.

The Chamber is seeking volunteers and donations to assist with the meal. For more information, contact Knudsen at hartsvilletrousdalecoc@gmail.com or call 615-374-9243.

“It’s meant to be a community event where people can come and meet their neighbors and friends. There are a lot of new people in Hartsville,” Knudsen said.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.