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The fixings by the fix-it shop

Community: Five-year-old Thanksgiving tradition started behind Newhall Bicycle Company draws hundred

Posted: November 25, 2010 8:07 p.m.
Updated: November 26, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Hundreds gather for a free Thanksgiving Day meal organized by Roger Hasper and his wife, Shannon, behind Hasper’s bicycle-repair shop, the Newhall Bicycle Company, in Newhall on Thursday.

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The spirit of giving shut down Main Street Thursday.

What began five years ago as a Thanksgiving Day dinner at the back of a Newhall bike shop mushroomed to embrace more than a thousand people this Thanksgiving Day, shutting down Main Street in Newhall to traffic for a couple of hours.

A simple one or two plates of turkey and mashed potatoes shared back in 2006 evolved this year into a food line stretching down a city block, from the Canyon Theatre Guild at 6th Street to Market Street.

“I feel bad that there’s a line, and people can’t eat right away,” said Roger Hasper who, with his wife, Shannon, set the gears in motion for a Thanksgiving Day tradition five years ago at the back of his repair shop, the Newhall Bicycle Company.

“It’s just cool to witness this,” he said, looking out on food servers, face painters and musicians.

Scores of tables and chairs were provided by the Santa Clarita Valley Rental Company when the Haspers realized how many people were expected to attend this year.

“We also want to thank the city of Santa Clarita for helping us with the street closure,” Shannon said.

“Last year, it doubled from the year before,” she said. “And we figured with the economy being what it is, it’ll double again.”

They figured right.

Double the number of visitors and double the number of helpers were counted at this year’s bike shop Thanksgiving Day feast and festival.

Cameron DeRobertis, his sister Christina and their mother, Carol, showed up to help out.

“My mom was serving gravy. I was serving the cranberry sauce,” he said. “It was really cool.”

Carla Hicks, assistant principal at Newhall Elementary School, helped children make Thanksgiving Day headpieces out of cardboard, assemble “friendship necklaces, friendship bracelets” and paint young faces.

“I talked to Roger about participating, and here we are,” Hicks said, turning around to hug two kids proud of the feathered headbands they made.

As the patient line of visitors worked its way along long tables of serving trays, the smoky smell of dinners being lifted out of a Texas barbecue wafted across Main Street and against a backdrop of roots reggae music performed by Jahmark and the Soul Shakers.

“I was invited here by somebody,” said Torino Cardia, owner of the Texas barbecue. “This is about helping people.”

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