Ann Davis receives the Spirit of America volunteer award at Celebrate Bowdoinham 2012 from Rep. Seth Berry. She organized the town’s community Thanksgiving dinners that have continued after her death in 2017. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BOWDOINHAM — Bowdoinham will continue its annual Thanksgiving ritual in true Bowdoinham fashion, welcoming the community to a free meal and social event on Thursday.

This is the first year Annie’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner will line tables at the newly renovated Merrymeeting Community Center at 27 Main St., formerly the town’s grange in downtown Bowdoinham.

The dinners were started a decade ago by Ann Davis, the town’s former EMS director, but were previously held at the fire station. Davis wanted to make sure all residents had a place to go on Thanksgiving to enjoy a meal and the company of others. Community members have continued to support the event by donating food or their time.

The dinners continued after Davis died suddenly in July 2017. The dinner was named after Davis in 2017.

The event has continued under the leadership of former Selectwoman Theresa Turgeon.

“It’s my idea of what community is and it’s what Annie had in mind,” Turgeon said. “That’s why we’re calling it Annie’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner.”

As of Tuesday, Turgeon expected around 30 people to attend. Folks can let Turgeon know they’re coming by calling (207) 837-2577 but Turgeon said anyone is welcome, “whether it’s last-minute or not.”

The dinner isn’t limited to Bowdoinham residents, Turgeon said. There are people coming from as far as Sabattus and Phippsburg. She’ll be at the Merrymeeting Community Center to start preparing the meal by 8 a.m. and said people can join her at any time. The meal will be served at noon and she has encouraged folks to arrive early so they can help set up and socialize. There will be games and entertainment for young and old.

“We have all the food that you could possibly imagine,” she said. “We have turkey and homemade stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce and mashed potato and squash and lots of desserts … and people power to put it all together for Thanksgiving.”

The revamped community center is a project that garnered a lot of local support and more than $80,000 in donations. The Bowdoinham Historical Society bought the 107-year-old building in May 2018 and has rehabilitated it largely through volunteer work.

“The community has been incredibly generous and very giving and continues to be,” Turgeon said.

 

 

 

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