“It’s basically an opportunity to thank the Badger Rock family, which includes people from the greater Madison area who are supporters of Badger Rock, and people who call Badger Rock home,” says Hedi Rudd, director of the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center. “It’s our way of thanking them for supporting Badger Rock.”

Rudd is talking about the Thanks-for-Giving Dinner tonight, an annual event that people from the whole south side neighborhood – and well beyond – look forward to each year. It will start at 5:30 p.m. at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, 501 E. Badger Rd., and run until 8 p.m. Kipp’s Kitchen will provide dinner for attendees free of charge and Angela Puerta will play music along with DJ Saul Avella.

“Angela played the event last year, as well. We love her because her music crosses many different genres,” Rudd says. “She does it all and we love her.”

Angela Puerta performs at last year’s event. (Photo by Hedi Rudd)

The Thanks-for-Giving Dinner is a opportunity for people in the community to come out and connect with each other. Once again, the event comes immediately after a long and grueling election season.

“In 2016, we had our event following the last big election and, pending on your views, people were happy and people were sad,” Rudd says. “But it was definitely a place to even out and all come together and all figure out where we go from here in terms of being a community.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll have a lot of that same sentiment tonight,” Rudd adds, laughing. “But no matter where you stand, it’s a good opportunity to come out and see people face to face and break down those walls.”

Above all, at the annual Thanks-for-Giving Dinner, it’s time to be thankful.

“Yeah, we are so thankful that we have this awesome space to come together and that we made it another year and that we have great food and music,” Rudd says.

Rudd adds that the Badger Rock students have been working on a project in their English class doing Yoruba beading that they will show off at the event. “So they got to fantasize what their Yoruba bead work would look like and to make their own representation,” Rudd says. “They will display their work and talk about why it looks the way it does at tonight’s event.”

The 2017 Thanks-for-Giving Dinner
(Photo by Hedi Rudd)

Beyond the music and food and artwork and socializing, the Thanks-for-Giving Dinner is a chance to pull out some playing cards and some board games and to just relax and have some fun.

“It’s a really enjoyable evening,” Rudd says. “Great food and great music. I noticed last year how much the girls and boys – especially our Latino girls and boys, in particular – were so excited to see Angela [Puerta] there performing. They were videoing her and YouTube-ing her. Anytime that you can bring somebody in from the community that is so talented and let the young people see someone who looks like them … that’s always a plus.

“I’m looking forward to seeing her perform tonight,” Rudd adds.

The Badger Rock Neighborhood Center Annual Thanks-for-Giving Dinner is free and open to the community. For more information, contact Hedi LaMarr Rudd at 608-960-4615 or hedi.rudd@resilientcities.org