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Nontraditional Thanksgiving traditions

  • Bret Lacquement has a Thanksgiving tradition of flinging jellied cranberry sauce from his deck into the forest, to "free the cranberries," at his home in Guerneville, Calif., on November 18, 2013. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Thanksgiving is an all-American holiday that tends to bring out the nonconformists in the crowd, especially in California — those who demand their turkey with a side of quirky, hold the stuffiness.

In this spirit, traditions are where we find them. Some of us skip Thanksgiving altogether and head to a tropical island while everyone else is huddled at home watching football.

Others toss the cranberry sauce off the back deck, in a "free the berry" ceremony reminiscent of the White House pardoning of Tom the Turkey.

Why not? It's a free country.

<b>Taking a hike:</b> As a busy Wine Country chef, Chris Greenwald of Bay Laurel Culinary in Petaluma works nonstop from spring through fall, catering weddings, music festivals and harvest parties.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, he is always exhausted. A few years ago, he decided to break with tradition and hike the entire Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai, all by himself.

"That was such an amazing experience," he said. "And it was easy to get the permits at that time of year."

A year later, he decided to go on a sea kayak trip to Espiritu Santo island off La Pazand loved it so much he returned the next year with his girlfriend.

"We kayaked on Thanksgiving Day," he said. "You can get incredible deals on plane travel, and things are less crowded."


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