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Portland 'redditors' give thanks with a Turkey Day party

While you were gobbling up your Thanksgiving Day feast the sunny holiday, think about this: Mike Alfoni’s eastside business was filled with dozens of strangers, all looking for a Thanksgiving Day feast of their own.

It was part of Alfoni’s second Thanksgiving meetup involving more than 100 local “redditors,” those Portland-area folks who post community news and other items to the social media website www.Reddit.com.

Alfoni, operations director for ADX Portland on Southeast 11th Avenue, hosted a similar party last year that drew about 30 people, and expects between 100 and 120 people to drop by this Thanksgiving during the daylong event. He hosted another Reddit house party that more than 100 people attended — they were “a lot of fun, respectful and left the place impressively clean” — and that inspired him to try another, larger Thanksgiving meetup.

Other invitations

Alfoni and Marie Young, another local redditor, met last year when they were planning separate “orphan” Thanksgiving Day parties, and decided to combine forces for a big bash.

They have no idea who will show up to the potluck lunch-dinner-whatever, but the crowd probably will include the same mix as last year: people whose families live too far away to visit for the day, and others who gather with their relatives for part of the day and then head to Alfoni and Young’s party.

“Everyone had different reasons for being there,” Alfoni says. “One unexpectedly cool thing was that a few folks came by before or after their own family holidays and joined us for a time.”

The Alfoni-Young party began at about 2 p.m. at Alfoni’s business, 417 S.E. 11th Ave. People are encouraged to bring food and drinks and stick around for the fun.

ADX Portland is a 12,000-square-foot fabrication shop where students, retirees and others work with designers and builders to create just about anything, including highly crafted artwork. Alfoni planned to 3D print nametags for people attending the event.

The Alfoni-Young party isn’t the only Thanksgiving Day invitation on www.Reddit.com/r/portland. Several people have posted notices opening their homes for the holiday and inviting strangers to share their Thanksgiving meals.

Family celebration

Alfoni says he hosted a Thanksgiving Day party last year because he missed his East Coast family and didn’t want to spend the holiday alone.

“Thanksgiving is a big holiday in my family, and one of the few times we’re together,” he says. “I was pretty depressed about not being able to join them, but I figured I wasn’t alone and it would be great to get a bunch of strangers together regardless of why they had no place to go.

“I can’t think of a better way to honor the spirit of giving thanks than to have dozens of strangers sharing and celebrating with each other.”

Alfoni says he gets the best thing anyone can wish for from the event: leftovers.

“It’s fun to give people a place to go,” he says. “It has definitely taken on a life of its own. I’m thinking this may be an annual tradition at ADX and/or Reddit, if all goes well.”