Small bites: Community interfaith Thanksgiving celebration

GRATEFUL GATHERING: Congregation Beth Israel will host a community interfaith Thanksgiving celebration Sunday, Nov. 17. Pictured from left, front row, are bandmates David LaMotte and Billy Jonas of Abraham Jam Interfaith Trio and the Rev. Samantha Gonzalez-Block; back row, from left, are Vicki Garlock, Amy Steinberg, the Rev. Nancy Dalton and Jan Zollars. Photo by Thomas Calder

Turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and your drunk uncle — for many these are the key ingredients for the Thanksgiving holiday. Gratitude, though implicit, sometimes gets lost in the mix. To help shift the holiday’s focus back toward appreciation, a number of local religious organizations are participating in a community interfaith Thanksgiving celebration hosted by Congregation Beth Israel on Sunday, Nov. 17.

“We were very intentional in drawing the circle as wide as possible,” says the event’s organizer, the Rev. Nancy Walton of Trinity United Methodist Church. “We’re also very intentional in saying we’re not asking anyone to water down anything that they bring to the gathering from their own tradition.”

Participants include members from Asheville Friends Meeting, Asheville United Methodist Churches Network, Bahá’is of Asheville and Western North Carolina, Congregation Beth HaTephilia, Congregation Beth Israel, Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Jubilee! Community Church, Mother Grove Goddess Temple, Islamic Community Members, Unitarian Universalist, Urban Dharma, Warren Wilson College Spiritual Life Community and WNC Baptist Fellowship Church.

Along with sharing cultural and religious expressions of gratitude, the event will feature live music from Billy Jonas and David LaMotte. A reception will follow. Finger foods will be provided by Beth Israel, including pastries, quiche and dips.

The gathering will also host a food drive benefiting BeLoved Asheville, a local nonprofit that serves marginalized people. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate.

By evening’s end, Walton hopes participants will better appreciate the common threads that exist across religious beliefs and cultural traditions. “Gratitude is something we all bring to whatever tables we gather around,” she says.

She also hopes the gathering will promote dialogue. “I think heading into an election year, how we choose to be with each other really matters. I’m hoping this will be something that reminds us of who we are as we gather — of the privileges that we have in this country, but also the responsibility to keep listening to each other.”

The celebration begins at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Congregation Beth Israel, 229 Murdock Ave. For more information, contact Nancy Walton at

Wizards of Mixology

Antidote cocktail lounge will be transformed into the School of Mixology on Thursday, Nov. 14, as four local bars battle for the House Cup. The Harry Potter-themed event will feature bartenders from Asheville Beauty Academy, The Greenhouse, Sovereign Remedies and The Times, each working with a North Carolina spirit to create a signature house punch. Themed food will be provided by Polanco, and Bhramari Brewing Co. will create a butterbeer for the occasion. Tickets are $30.

The battle begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Antidote, 151 Coxe Ave. For tickets, visit

S’mores and stouts

Lookout Brewing Co. will celebrate fall with an evening stout takeover around the fire pit, featuring live music, s’mores and five stouts on Friday, Nov. 15. Participants are asked to bring camp chairs and blankets. S’mores supplies will be provided. The event is family- and dog-friendly.

The event runs 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at Lookout Brewing Co., 103 S. Ridgeway Ave., Black Mountain. To learn more, visit

Potluck and community workday

The South Asheville Cemetery Association will host a community workday and potluck on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the South Asheville Cemetery, a former slave burial ground. Participants will perform general maintenance, including raking leaves and grass seed planting. Guests are invited (but not required) to contribute a dish to the potluck. Additional food will be provided by St. Johns-A-Baptist Church. “All are welcome at this workday,” writes event organizer Ellen Holmes Pearson in a press release. “Come for an hour or come for the entire time.” RSVPs are encouraged.

The workday runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the South Asheville Cemetery, 20 Dalton St. To RSVP, email

Spaghetti Western

The Blind Pig Supper Club will host a spaghetti Western-themed dinner on Sunday, Nov. 17, featuring Tex-Mex and Italian entrées prepared by chefs David Santos, Rich Parente and Mike Moore. The undisclosed location will be shared with guests prior to the event. Seating is limited. Tickets are $65.

The dinner runs 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. To purchase tickets, visit

Bourbon Club

The Cut Cocktail Lounge in Sylva will host a bourbon and meat pairing event on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The $40 tickets include six 1-ounce bourbon pours paired with meats from The Chop Shop Butchery. Reservations are required.

The event runs 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at The Cut Cocktail Lounge, 610 Main St., Sylva. To RSVP, visit

Mother Earth Food’s new partnerships

Mother Earth Food recently announced new partnerships with Hickory Nut Gap Meats, Buchi, Roots Hummus, The Rhu and French Broad Food Co-op. Products from partner businesses are now available for online purchase and delivery by Mother Earth Food. “With so many options for sourcing groceries and fresh produce, our goal is to make the choice of buying local as convenient as possible while supporting regional farmers and businesses in our local food culture,” says CEO Janelle Tatum in a recent press release.

To learn more, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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