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TVS Thanksgiving 2007
Feast and Raffle with Prizes at Cafe Parizäde
November 22, 2007

Picture of people enjoying Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission. Event summary written by Dilip Barman:

We had another fabulous event which we again believe was the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving with 525 attendees, a growth of 47%! We had people from more than 42 cities and 7 states. Some attendees from distant places included Fred Podris and his family of 12 from Florida, Judi and Bill Thourot from the Philadelphia area, and Kelly Kandra from Chicago.

The food was yummy and, thanks to the staff of Café Parizäde, our volunteers, and a great reservation system always put together in a tirelessly excellent job by our webmaster Ken Guttman, we had a smooth flow of happy diners! We had 129 raffle prizes worth a total of more than $4500!

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and also to reflect on the past year. We had three major losses of people important to the vegetarian society, and had a moment of silence for Anne Weaver, co-creator with her husband Wes of the Very Vegetarian Society of Winston-Salem; Dietrich von Haugwitz, internationally known animal activist and founder of the NC Network for Animals; Jerry Gaudet, globe-trotting executive with a warm nature of sharing and love; and any others in our personal lives.

Picture of people enjoying Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission. We also had some happier announcements, including birthday wishes for Allison Kinnarny. We had hearty congratulations for my parents, Lalit and Anuradha Barman, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary early this year; they are true pioneers, coming to America in 1960 when there was almost no support net of fellow Indian immigrants, and providing a great life for their family in the States. Brian Donlon's parents just weeks ago celebrated their 50th anniversary as well; I was privileged to put together a multimedia slide show of their years together. We also congratulated Angela and Brandon Becker on their summer marriage.

Such a huge event couldn't be possible with the help of many TVSers as well as a restaurant, Café Parizäde, that has exemplary service and makes it easy to work together. Thanks especially to manager Igor Gacina, chef Robert Adams, and pastry chef Lou Mincey. We love the atmosphere that Giorgos Bakatsias, Parizäde owner, provides – he has founded over 25 fine restaurants and gourmet markets since 1987. Manager Ricardo Granillo and host Amanda played key roles, as did the over twenty staff.

Picture of some of the food at Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission. Many thanks to all of the TVS volunteers, especially to Ken Guttman for his amazing online reservation system. I firmly believe that this is a best-of-breed application for event planners and it served both administrative needs and reservation needs fully and easily. We recognized Ken with a small gift at the event.

We also acknowledged Michael Pocinki of Michael's Music DJ Service for providing the sound system, which he generously does each year. Contact him at 919-489-8700 for any of your DJ needs!

Many volunteers made the event happen. Loren Hart was the phone contact for the event; he, Irena Rindos, and Carolee Carlson helped Tracy Morris and me in making phone calls for the raffle. I know some of you have enjoyed our podcasts. Thanks so much to Joseph Puentes for providing this service; at Thanksgiving, Lucy Moore used Joseph's recorder to capture comments from folks and a sense of the ambience of Thanksgiving. Look for that on our podcast area soon.

Photographer Anna Creissen took pictures of the event. You can see them at www.annacreissen.com/gallery/3868842 or linked in from the bottom of this page.

Jennie Guttman (who travelled from Ohio), Sangeeta Godbole, and Brian Donlon helped with setting up the raffle and literature table. Michael and Lucy were also at the restaurant the night before setting up the sound equipment.

Picture of Dilip Barman welcoming people and conducting the raffle at Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission. We had a smooth and easy check-in. Thanks to those taking shifts to greet and admit people – Jennie Guttman, Allen Creech, Barry & Tink Nakell, Angela & Brandon Becker, and Pam Young. Sangeeta did a very nice job organizing the raffle; folks helping her and selling raffle tickets included Ann Creech, Shannon Crespo, Karen McCollough, Karin Yates, Pravin Shah, Susan McKinstry, Brian Donlon, Eric & Valine Zeigler, Joy Anandi, Loren Hart, Jennie Guttman, and James Balfour.

Thanks to all who were involved! And please accept my apologies for missing any people who contributed – if you email me, I will be glad to suitably amend this description.

Photographs from Thanksgiving 2005 courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services from South Carolina, and used with his permission. (More pictures available online.) Anna Creissen of Anna Creissen Photography took pictures at the 2007 event; see her TVS photo gallery.

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