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Street feast brings community to the table

Despite their business going under, feast founders keep SCV tradition going strong

Posted: November 28, 2013 7:42 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2013 7:42 p.m.

Emily Alber, 12, rear, looks on as Abby Morse-Tobeck, 9, ladles out chili as part of the annual Newhall Thanksgiving Feast held on Main Street Thursday. Photo by Dan Watson/The Signal.

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If you set the table, they will come.

More than 3,000 dinner guests showed up as expected in Newhall Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Feast street party despite the demise of the bike shop where it all began.

Eight years ago, Roger and Shannon Hasper opened up their hearts and the doors of their business — the Newhall Bicycle Company — and shared Thanksgiving with 40 others. The following year, when they did it again, the number of participants in the dinner more than doubled.

But, while the feast continued to grow, the bike business continued to struggle.

In December 2012, after years of spearheading what had become the Santa Clarita Valley’s biggest community event and annual street party at Thanksgiving, the Haspers’ Newhall Bicycle Company closed its doors for good.

On Thursday, looking out across the thousands of people on Main Street eating food, serving food, cooking food and having a good time, Shannon Hasper reflected on how the event has grown.

“Look at it,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Asked where her husband Roger was, she said: “I’d like to tell you he’s in the bike shop. But, you know, it was never about the bike shop in the first place.

“We do miss the bike shop. We miss it a lot. But, you know what? It is what is,” she said. “Life goes on.”

And, thanks to the Haspers, the South Valley Church which opened its doors for donations, City of Santa Clarita’s Dave Knutson, the SCV Rental shop which provided tables and chairs and the Augusta Financial for printing flyers, life at the “Feast” goes on in a more rewarding way for thousands of others, both giving and receiving.

“I love that this is so grass roots,” said feast volunteer Mia Slotsve.

“This is the first year without the bike company but its even bigger now,” she said, pointing to the involvement of the South Valley Church which filled the void left by the bike shop.

“That’s where the church comes in,” she said. “They’re taking care of crafts and clothing. They set it up. It’s all worked so beautifully together.”

Church leaders stepped in this year providing a physical presence for of the event, an actual place where people could drop off donations.

Slotsve made some donations of her own. She donated two turkeys — bought them, cooked them and delivered them to the Thanksgiving Feast — and she’s vegetarian.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter
@jamesarthurholt

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