6 Tips for a Fun (and Safe) Arlington Thanksgiving

Published on November 21, 2017

In 1619, in Charles City County, Virginia, the first Thanksgiving was held in the United States. Nearly 400 years later, we celebrate that day as the unofficial start of the holidays. While Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Thursday and Friday, we want to remind you of all the great ways you can celebrate Thanksgiving week in Arlington. Whether you're traveling or staying locally, these tips will help ensure you have an enjoyable — and safe — Thanksgiving holiday.

1. Practice Kitchen Safety

Did you know that unattended cooking is by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths? Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Fortunately, Arlington County Fire Department put together holiday cooking safety tips (please, don't fry your turkey indoors).


And when you're done cooking, remember, keep your pipes FOG free. Fats, oils and grease — FOG — represent the most serious enemy of our sewer lines. When FOG is dumped down the drain, it forms large, thick grease balls that clog pipes. Clogged pipes can result in sewer backups and spills, create environmental problems, cause traffic tie-ups or even flood homes and businesses.  Can it, cool it, and then throw it away.

2. Trot Through Arlington

runners in road race thanksgiving turkey trot

Burn off a few calories and work up an appetite — and have fun with 4,000 of your friends and neighbors — at the Arlington Turkey Trot. Now in its 12th year, the 5k road race takes runners through Ashton Heights before finishing near Lyon Park Community Center. The race benefits six local charities: Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), A-SPAN, Arlington Thrive, Bridges to Independence (formerly AACH), OAR, and Young Life. Register online.

3. Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. As travelers get ready to hit the roads, the Arlington County Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to share an important lifesaving reminder: Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.


4. Help Your Community

For some in Arlington, the holidays represent a particularly vulnerable time of year. You can help provide comfort, food and some joy through one of many ways around the County.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center is a community-based non-profit that provides supplemental groceries to Arlington neighbors in need. Consider making a donation to its Hope Against Hunger Campaign — a gift of just $25 will sponsor a family with a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. You can also help AFAC keep its shelves stocked during the holidays by organizing a food collection through your office, apartment building or community groups. 


And this holiday season, you can help the Arlington County Fire Department as they help AFAC — drop off your non-perishable food donations to any fire station through January 5, 2018.

5. Shop Locally

Made In Arlington is a pop-up market at the Plaza Branch Library in Courthouse that's dedicated to unique things beautiful, wearable and edible, all from innovators and artisans in Arlington. It's open Monday thru Friday (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), until Dec. 22, and features special Lobby Vendors each Thursday (excluding Thanksgiving Day).

While Black Friday certainly is a great incentive to get deals and discounts, Arlington businesses once again encourage customers to try something a little different on Small Business Saturday.

6. Stay Safe

As the holiday season arrives, County Police is asking residents and visitors of Arlington to help protect the community by reporting suspicious activity to police for investigation. There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain vigilant, particularly in areas where large crowds of people typically gather such as shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services, and public transportation hubs, to name a few. Remember, if you See Something, Say Something.

Are you planning to leave town over the holidays? Take a moment to review some simple ways you can protect your home while you're away.


And don't forget about your pets — as much as you enjoy Aunt Judith's green bean casserole recipe, it probably shouldn't be shared with Fido. Make sure you're taking precautions to help keep your four-legged friends safe at the holidays.