Harbor Docks 25th Annual Thanksgiving Day Feast

Discussion in 'Dining and Food' started by Teresa, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Harbor Docks Thanksgiving Day Feast
    A Thanksgiving tradition in Destin Florida serving a free meal. Everyone's invited! Donations accepted.

    Be our guest, at our 25th Annual Thanksgiving Day Feast! Everyone is welcome. While there is absolutely no charge, donations will be accepted from those capable of making them.

    All proceeds will benefit Destin Harvest and Okaloosa Habitat projects. This traditional, homestyle Thanksgiving Day feast will be served from 11 am 'til 7 pm, at Harbor Docks, the heart of Destin.

    American Lunch will be set up in the parking lot handing out turkey sandwiches to go.

    A cash bar will be available.

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  2. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Love this Thanksgiving Day tradition at Harbor Docks! Here is a story with a little background by Beachcomber.

    Harbor Docks Celebrates 25 Years of Thanksgiving Tradition
    Published on November 7, 2019
    By Chris Manson

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    Miss Ann, a longtime member of the Harbor Docks family, was the first to suggest opening the Destin restaurant on Thanksgiving Day.

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    Just a small sampling of the hundreds of volunteers that pull off this event every year.

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    These ladies can’t get enough of that yummy turkey and—oh my goodness, yes—cornbread dressing.


    Former Harbor Docks owner and Beachcomber contributing writer Charles Morgan credits longtime employee Ann Jones (a/k/a Miss Ann) with the idea of opening the restaurant on Thanksgiving Day.

    “I came up with the idea to give it away and accept donations for Habitat for Humanity,” he says. “It started slowly—people didn’t get the whole idea. But it grew quickly. Now we’re maxed out.”

    Miss Ann picks up the story from here. “I asked Charles, ‘What do you want to do for Thanksgiving? Don’t you want to have Thanksgiving lunch?’ He said nobody went out on Thanksgiving.”

    She says the restaurant’s menu and kitchen evolved considerably over the years. Some time ago, Charles asked if she could add fried chicken to the Harbor Docks menu. Her reply: “You’re asking a black woman if she can cook fried chicken?!?” Back then, the Harbor Docks kitchen didn’t even have a deep fryer.

    Miss Ann says the restaurant served about 500 people that first year. “It was buffet style, which was hard to do. People would get up for more food, and someone would take their seats. The next one was a plated meal—the other way, we were running wild.

    “Charles, he’s the best person to work with. He gives it his all. We’ve helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity and donated to other charities. It’s gotten to be a fun thing to do. We couldn’t do it without all the employees and volunteers that come in to help out.”

    On Thanksgiving Day, “there’s a lot of chaos going on,” says Harbor Docks’ Jackie Tway. “But before that, it’s a lot of fun cooking.”

    “We start making the cornbread for the dressing first,” says Miss Ann. “Then the turkeys come in. Last year, we did 175 or more turkeys—some people donate turkeys, so I lose count.”

    “Making the cornbread is easy,” says Ms. Tway. “But mixing the individual batches of dressing, we have to try and get the flavor the same for all of them.”

    Based on my visits, things seem to run smoothly these days. But, adds Ms. Tway: “Five years ago, we ran out of turkey and had to close at 5:30. That hasn’t happened since.”

    This year’s dinner begins at 11 AM and lasts until 7 PM. There will be plenty of turkey and dressing, along with desserts donated by The Donut Hole. As always, it’s free, but donations are graciously accepted for Habitat for Humanity of Okaloosa County and Destin Harvest, the latter of whom will receive any leftover food from the event.

    If there are any leftovers…
     

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