Free Thanksgiving dinner event draws 3,000 in Racine

RACINE, Wis. -
The promise of a free Thanksgiving meal and hours of entertainment drew a record crowd in Racine.
 Around 3,000 came to Racine Festival Hall Thursday for turkey and togetherness.
 
"Good food, good people and I like that," said Willy Hughes of Racine.
 
Hughes is a regular at this annual celebration. He sat with friends and made new ones at the same table.
 
"I greet them ‘happy Thanksgiving,’" Hughes  said.
Abe Ouzounian came dressed to impress in his thanksgiving best. He rented the costume to put a smile on everyone’s face on one of the happiest days of the year.
 
"It's a turkey outfit; it's fitting for the holiday," Ouzounian said.
 
Dan Johnson organized this event and said the best part of the celebration is bringing people together who might not otherwise cross paths.
 
"It's not for the needy, it's not for the rich, it's not for the poor, it's for everybody," said Johnson.  
 
Johnson said the best part of the celebration is bringing people together who might not otherwise cross paths.
 
"It's what was so magical about the event, so we had to keep it going," said Johnson.
The four-hour event took a team effort. 300 volunteers donating time to cook and serve, others give hard earned money.
 
"Businesses donating bakery, food...everybody wants to help," said Johnson.
 
It took 100 turkeys to feed 3,000 people. Volunteers started cooking Wednesday morning and continued throughout the event. With full stomachs full and good conversation, those in attendance took a moment to reflect on what the holiday is all about.
 
"What I'm most thankful for is I got a new job," said Joanne Hill.
 
"I'm thankful for my health," said Ouzounian.
 
"I'm thankful for my family and my children," said Linda Kwapil.
 
The Thanksgiving meal cost roughly $15,000 which was funded by those in the Racine community.
 
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