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Turkeyed Out: Free Thanksgiving Events Beyond Food

In case you want to do something other than eat and nap this holiday.

See the lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah on Wednesday. Photograph by Flickr user tedeytan.

Wednesday, November 27

Library of Congress: Civil War Thanksgiving
While the first day of thanks dates back to colonial times, it took hundreds of years for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday. Learn the story behind this evolution in a noon talk led by Connie Carter of the Science, Technology & Business Division.

White House Ellipse: National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
The lighting of the world’s largest menorah draws thousands of spectators each year. The event includes performances by the United States Air Force Band, the Three Cantors, and violinist Miri Ben-Ari, as well as hot latkes and donuts. Tickets are free but required; order online.

Thursday, November 28

Kennedy Center: Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party
A belly full of turkey is no excuse to avoid the dance floor at this throwback evening from 7 to 9. Enjoy dance lessons from Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg along with live music from the Tom Cunningham Orchestra.

Fillmore Silver Spring: Giving Thanks
Give thanks for your blessings by assembling takeaway care packages for those in need at this community gathering with live music and seasonal treats from 11 to 3. If you’re unable to make the event, the Fillmore is accepting donations of food, clothing, and toiletries until November 27.

Friday, November 29

National Harbor Tree-Lighting and Fireworks
The folks at National Harbor sure know how to light a shrub with style, with more than 200,000 Christmas lights adorning the 65-foot tree. A fireworks show adds even more sparkle to this night of holiday entertainment and shopping, running from 7 to 8:30.

Reston Town Center: Holiday Parade & Tree-Lighting Sing-Along
Who needs the crowds of New York City to enjoy a good holiday parade? The Reston Town Center will be hosting a day of post-Thanksgiving cheer to kick off the season, complete with its own procession, Santa visits, and a tree-lighting and sing-along. The parade is at 11; the tree-lighting and sing-along are at 6.