cornecopiaAs we enter into the Holiday Season this November it’s a good idea to relax and with some of the variety of holiday events around the Bay Area. To help weed through the seemingly endless possibilities this Season we compiled a list of opportunities to have fun, plan your holiday shopping and perhaps give back to the community.

Events on Thanksgiving Weekend

Piedmont Turkey Trot
This annual event involves a 3 mile run/walk at 8:30am on Thanksgiving day. Participants are encouraged to register early although last minute register is possible as well. Registration is at Piedmont High School

Turkey Trail Trot: Annual event only takes a limited number of entrants (around 1,400). Run takes place in Golden Gate Park, starts at Polo Fields and the course is mostly flat. Run starts at 8:30am on Thanksgiving morning; participants can either sign up for the 5-mile run or the 3-mile walk. More registration details

Life Time Turkey Day 5k
Starts at 8am at AT&T Park, runs along the waterfront and finishes at City Hall. The course is mostly flat with a few small hills and passes several attractions including the Ferry Building, the Contemporary Jewish Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum. The event benefits the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks. Life Time Turkey Day 5k Registration details

Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz, also called Unthanksgiving Day This one day event is to commemorate the 1969 – 1971 occupation of Alcatraz by the “Indians of All Tribes.” This sunrise celebration includes traditional Native American dancing, singing and other performances. Boats leave Pier 33 every 15 minutes between 4:45am and 6am. To get tickets, call 415-981-7625 or buy directly from the ticket booth at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing.

Tree Lighting in Union Square: The annual lighting of the tree in Union Square is scheduled for Friday, November 29. The ceremony begins at 6pm with the tree lighting finishing at around 6:40pm.

Ice Skating Rink in Union Square: Each year throughout most of November and December, there is a temporary ice skating rink in Union Square. Each session is 90 minutes and starts on the hour, every even hour starting at 10am.

Embarcadero Skating Rink: A second temporary ice-skating rink is open throughout November and December at the Embarcadero Center.

Friday Nights at the de Young: The de Young enlivens the museum each week with a unique theme often tying in with the special exhibitions and permanent collections on view. The de Young Café offers a delicious Friday Nights prixe-fixe menu and specialty cocktails starting at 5pm until 8:30. The event runs through Nov 29. Friday Nights at the de Young Tickets are $10.

Volunteer Opportunities

Alameda Food Bank
Multiple volunteer locations
Alameda Food Bank’s annual Safeway “End Hunger Now” food drive kicks off on Saturday, November 23rd. Volunteers are needed to encourage shoppers to donate food into our Food Drive barrels.
Visit the Alameda Food Bank website for more information.

Berkeley Animal Shelter
1 Bolivar Drive (near aquatic park)
The time and talent of many animal-loving volunteers is essential to providing quality care for shelter animals and finding them new homes.  Whether working with the animals, the public, or behind the scenes, volunteers improve the quality of life for the animals in Berkeley shelter and improve their chances of adoption.
New volunteers attend 3-5 hours of training spread over a few weeks, with new classes starting twice each month.
Visit the Berkeley Animal Shelters website for more information.

Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency
2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
BOSS serves over 1,500 homeless families and individuals with multiple barriers to self-sufficiency. BOSS needs volunteers throughout the year for different activities – tutoring, teaching classes, facility repair, painting, gardening, social justice organizing, fundraising, and special activities (e.g. holiday celebrations, birthday parties, or family field trips organized by groups).
Visit the Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency website for more information and to find out which position might be a good fit.

Dorothy Day House of Berkeley
1931 Center Street
Dorothy Day House, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing breakfast and emergency shelter to those in need, is looking for people who are will work their two shifts at 5am and 6:30am.
Visit the Dorothy Day House of Berkeley website for more information.

Youth Engagement Advocacy Housing
1744 University Ave, Berkeley
Volunteers are sought by YEAH to help with a variety of positions including preparing the meals to interacting with youth. Volunteers learn from youth, from their fellow volunteers and from the trainings provided by YEAH. In turn, youth have a warm bed, hot meals and a way of making connections with people from the wider community.
Visit the Youth Engagement Advocacy Housing website for more information.

Black Friday Shopping

Fourth Street (between University and Gilman) in Berkeley offers a mix of independent boutique stores as well as chain stores for Black Friday Deals.
Bay Street in Emeryville has all of your clothing retail covered as well as an Apple store and a movie theater and restaurants in case you need a break from shopping.

Union Square: Here you will find several shops with great Black Friday deals. Macy’s is the anchor store here – with several others that surround it.

Westfield Shopping Center: There is also a large shopping center about five blocks from Union Square. It’s an indoor mall with dozens of stores. It is on the corner of Market and Fifth Streets.

Websites offering special recipes for Thanksgiving

Food Network
Food and Wine