The first annual Taste of Thanksgiving Sides will be held this Saturday, Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Truthfully, I hope each vendor is sold out by 1 p.m. Why? Because that will mean all the hard work and effort the members of the Austin Landmark Cultural Center have put forth was well worth it.

The Austin Landmark Cultural Center board is dedicated to showcasing the positive side of African-American culture. I haven’t met a single person who, when I told them what we were attempting to do, gave me any type of negative feedback.

The “Taste” we will host is about many of the foods we have on our tables for Thanksgiving Day. But the event is about something more. It is really about the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving.

Sometimes we can forget what to be thankful for. I am first and foremost thankful that my creator allows me to wake up each and every morning. God is always at the forefront of what I say and do. So as this holiday season approaches, I want to thank him for my life and the lives of all the people who have worked to make this event happen.

I have worked with many people and groups here in Austin over the years. Each and every one I have worked with have been fantastic. But to host an event that will allow struggling businesses to showcase their products to the community without an upfront cost, well that is the greatest Christian take we can undertake as a people for each other.

I want to give John Young, owner of the Laramie State Bank Building a special “thank you.” Over the years, Mr. Young has always responded positively when I have approached him with ideas. Also to Ms. Earline Ruffin, who has been the contact person in all of this and has done most of the planning.

I especially want to send a major “thank you” to Garfield Majors for allowing us to come on his show, “Talking to the People,” at 9:30 p.m. every Sunday night on WPNA 1490 AM. When I told him what we were doing, he never hesitated when I asked if we could use his show to talk about the event.

To many of the vendors who are strangers to me but read this column or saw the e-mail I sent out and responded to it, I want to say “thanks.” I took a flyer and newspaper to a relatively new business in Austin and within 15 minutes he had called to participate and brought us samples of his fried shrimp and fish nuggets.

I want to “thank” this newspaper for giving me the platform via this column to promote this event. I want to send a special “thank you” to all who read this column.

Last, but not least, I want to send the biggest “thank you in the world” to the people here in Austin and on the West Side. Whether I approached you on the streets, in the stores or left a flyer at your door, you all were warm and welcoming to this idea.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And see you Saturday!

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