The novel coronavirus pandemic has claimed yet another victim from among Aiken’s biggest events.
One Table has been canceled for 2020.
The committee that organizes the free community Thanksgiving dinner made that decision after considering all the challenges created by COVID-19 and the likelihood that there are going to be issues for a long time to come.
“All the uncertainties that our community is dealing this year make it impossible to hold One Table,” wrote One Table Event Coordinator Kathryn Wade in an email to the Aiken Standard on Thursday night. “While it is our prayer that we will be out of the pandemic by Thanksgiving, planning starts now and our usual food providers are the churches, which are not even meeting.
“The supply chain for other items is also questionable,” Wade continued. “As the committee members discussed all these things, they knew they would be unable to social distance or make sure all participants were wearing masks.”
In the past, hundreds of Aiken residents and visitors have gathered downtown in The Alley and on Newberry Street on Thanksgiving Day to enjoy turkey, gravy, dressing, rice, mashed potatoes and other food prepared by volunteers.
There also was musical entertainment.
Crowd estimates have exceeded 2,000 for some editions of One Table.
“We are disappointed because we know many people depend on One Table for their holiday meal and for friendly fellowship,” Wade wrote. “We had our largest crowd last year and we know this event will be greatly missed by our community.
“The organizers will also miss all of our faithful volunteers and donors,” she concluded. “Hopefully, things will be back to normal next year, and we will be able to resume holding the event.”
Other local traditions that have been scrapped for 2020 because of coronavirus concerns include the Aiken’s Makin’ arts and crafts festival, the Aiken Horse Show and the Aiken Fall and Spring steeplechases.
One Table has been held in Aiken for 15 years or so. It was called off in 2014 because the volunteers needed a break and Wade had plans to visit Israel during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The event resumed in 2015 and was renewed every year until now.
The 2020 edition was scheduled for Nov. 26.