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Ingredients for a Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted By Salt Lake County ZAP
November 21, 2018

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Serves 400-500
 Central City Thanksgiving - Pie
A whole lot of turkey
33 pints cranberry sauce
134 quarts mashed potatoes
60 quarts homestyle gravy
At least three different kinds of pie
4 rows of tables and handmade decorations
1 basketball court

More than your average recreation center, Central City has been serving up resources, fitness opportunities, youth programs, and community connection since it opened 50 years ago on the corner of 600 South and 300 East in downtown Salt Lake.  For nearly half of that time, those servings have included a free turkey dinner on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. 

The neighborhood tradition has seen a lot of changes over the years, initially starting as part of an open rec program, where youth would put on the dinner for their families.  “We no longer have the open rec program, but it’s cool to see the event continue with Utah Valley University.  It means a lot to the families that come back every year,” said Darian Abegglen, Associate Director of Recreation. 


Central City Thanksgiving - Serving table

Central City has since developed a partnership with UVU Culinary Art Institute, and the dinner has since become a holiday treat for the neighborhood.  The culinary students both prepare and serve the meal, getting a chance to share their new skills with the community and witness the resulting smiles from their pumpkin pie, turkey, and all the fixings.   

Central City Thanksgiving - Small Collage

It’s an evolution on a spirit of service that allows for more connection and full stomachs during the holidays, and who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?    

Central City Recreation Center is supported in part by Salt Lake County residents like you through Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks.  For more information on recreation centers and community events with Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation, visit