Mark Rudd has only lived in Sun Prairie for five and a half years, but already feels the need to give back.
“I’m just blessed to be able to be here and to be embraced by this community the way that I have been,” said Rudd, who grew up in Madison but has spent much of his adult life in California and other places. “So me being the type of person I am, I just wanted to give something back.”
This week, that giving back will take the form of a Thanksgiving dinner that’s free and open to the community. All are welcome to come by his barbershop at 110 Columbus Street in Sun Prairie for smoked turkey, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, pies and more. Doors will open at 1 pm and the celebration will go “until the food is gone or the people are gone,” Rudd said.
Rudd said that since he announced the idea two weeks ago, the community has come out in strong support.
“I had a lady come by the other day and drop off a $100 check,” he said. “Costco gave us four turkeys. People calling me, ‘Hey, can I bring something? I’m going to bring a couple pies or I want to bring this or I’m going to bring that.’ It’s just been amazing.” He added that the Sun Prairie Fire Department and Om World Market had also chipped in.
This will be Rudd’s first time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, but not his first time having folks over to the shop for food — he hosted a customer appreciation dinner in the summer.
“We did ribs and just an amazing amount of food. I’m a foodie,” he said. “I love food. And I’m always bragging about how good I can cook.”
It’s not just about food, though. Rudd said he’ll have football on the 109-inch TV and there will be plenty of things to do.
“We’ll shoot pool, throw darts, you know, kick the bobo and just hang out,” he said.
Rudd said he hopes the Thanksgiving dinner becomes an annual tradition, and wants to do more — hoping for as many as four community meals in his shop every year.
Rudd said he expects about 100 people to come through during the course of the day, but is open to more.
“We’re just going to open the doors and see what happens,” he said.