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You know, there are other ways to celebrate Thanksgiving besides watching football and shotgunning gravy.

If you're vegetarian, vegan or vegetari-ish, whip up your best animal-product-free side dish and trot it over to the Humboldt Vegetarian Society's Thanksgiving potluck at the Humboldt Area Foundation on Sunday Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. (free). It's sure to give you some new ideas for your holiday table (you're better than that old nut loaf recipe — branch out). Take along your own service, too and spare the landfill the extra paper plates.

On Thanksgiving morning, get out of the house and breathe some fresh sea air at Trinidad Head during the blessing of the fleet (10 a.m., free). The local fishing boat crews will be in attendance to give thanks to the ocean and get some good seafood mojo going. It's tradition, and it beats fighting with Aunt Carol over mashing or slicing the canned cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving is like the Olympics of eating, except it's every year, and it's not about competition so much as family and indulgence, and most Olympiads probably don't collapse on the couch holding their stuffing baby when it's all over. If you're planning some epic power eating, you might want to do something a little more physical to make room. How about a lap around the Arcata Marsh? Meet at the Wildlife Interpretive Center at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving with your walking shoes on and get moving (free). Or be at the Old Town gazebo for the 5K Turkey Trot at 9 a.m. ($10 or $20 with a shirt, registration from 7:30 a.m.).

No feast to go to? Not true! You are a welcome guest at the Logger Bar's potluck at noon and at Arcata Community Center, where local chef Luke Patterson is dishing it out for free from noon until 3 p.m. And you can always call and arrange to give a hand at St. Vincent De Paul (445-9588) and the Rescue Mission (445-3787), where the staff and volunteers serve those in need year round.

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