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Thanksgiving traditions in Portland look a lot different in 2020

This year posed many challenges. But on the day of thanks, we're reminded just how grateful Mainers can be despite a COVID-19 pandemic

PORTLAND, Maine — Usually Thanksgiving in Portland is full of excitement---and people. This year however not so much. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot.

For only the second time in it's 109 year history the Thanksgiving Day game at Fitzpatrick stadium between rivals Portland and Deering High Schools was not be played.

This year Thanksgiving meals had to be handed out ahead of time instead of hundreds of people gathering for free community dinners like the one Wayside Food Programs and the United Way of Greater Portland traditionally put on together. 

And then there's the Thanksgiving Day 4-miler, a race that brings out thousands of people. This year, it's 39th, the event and it's fundraising efforts went virtual leaving the streets of Portland quiet...except for a few 4 miler faithful who showed up to run the course anyway.

Credit: NCM

Vince Micucci of Portland was one of them.

"It's (Portland) looking a little empty but I will tell you one thing... that increases my chances of winning which I plan on doing today" Micucci laughed.

Micucci's brother Ethan said "I'm just happy to be here. The circumstances are different, trying to be sensitive to what's going on but also trying to keep the tradition alive."

Elyse Doyle of South Portland who was along for the run was also grateful to be there. 

"I'm just excited to still be out here running with friends...that's what's it all about making sure we can all come together today". 

Regardless of how challenging 2020 has been year many Mainers say they have a lot to be thankful for."

We live in a beautiful place and to be outside, the weather for the most part has cooperated and we also have a fabulous new dog Shelby" said Janet Villiotte.

Villiotte was walking Shelby with her husband Phil, a physician at Maine Medical Center. 

"Everybody in our clinic has been healthy so we've been able to go to work and help take care of people. And even though it’s been challenging, it feels good to be here outside, be able to work and still enjoy life as much as we can" said Phil Villiotte.

Good advice pandemic or not.

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