The 17th Annual Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Thankspigging Chef Benji prepares the pig for roasting.

Chef Benji prepares the Thankspigging pig for roasting.

This just in: Photos from Thankspigging!

With power and phone service finally coming back after THREE MONTHS, we’re starting to get more news from Coral Bay.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman said there was no way Hurricane Irma was going to stop him from hosting his annual potluck Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone is invited to share a free, communal meal with their neighbors.

“Of course we were going to have it!” Ken said. “It’s more needed this year, for sure, with so many people without kitchens, or roofs…” Or homes.

The only question was where, as Skinny Legs—the traditional venue—was also ravaged by Irma, but as Thanksgiving approached, Skinny’s was starting to resemble her old self again. Ken decorated by hanging 17 commemorative T-shirts—one from every year since 2001—beneath Skinny’s new roof. This year’s theme: Irma La Douche.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Captain Pete of Angel’s Rest helps carve the roast pig.

“I lost everything so it’s nice to be here with people that probably lost everything too,” said Pete Hoschl, whose floating bar, Angel’s Rest, was wrecked in the storms. “Today’s a day that everybody gets together and forgets about the bad times.”

Chef Benji, who roasted the pig (it was mouthwatering), said he was thankful to be “helping out the community and just sharing a helping hand.”

The pig was a fraction of the size that Ken wanted, but this is a community that knows how to make do. Jeff McCrave from Drunk Bay Brewing fried three large and luscious turkeys, those who could brought homemade side dishes and desserts, and before long the (newly varnished) Skinny’s bar was full of delicious food.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay, St. John 2017

Coral Bay resident Megan Elliott organizes the desserts.

Megan Elliott, who was arranging platters on the buffet, said life’s been difficult in Coral Bay without telephone, television, or internet.

“You hear stories that the military can go into the middle of the deep dark jungle and set a system up in 24 hours and here we are, almost 3 months later.”

Thankspigging is a break from that.

“We need some normalcy and a sense of camaraderie,” Elliott said. “It’s been hard.”

Thankspigging Coral Bay 2017 St. John USVI

Drunk Bay Brewer Jeff McCrave deep-fried three mouthwatering turkeys.

McCrave is a regular at Thankspigging. He recalled meeting a tourist a few years back who wandered in with his wife and pretty much summed up the appeal of the event.

“He looked around and said, ‘This is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be.’ He said, ‘I’m bringing my whole family down here next year for Thankspigging.’ And he did!”

There were no tourists this year, but by 5 pm the band was ready to play and hungry locals were lined up out into the parking lot.

Thankspigging 2017 in Coral Bay

A Thankspigging feast!

Ken welcomed all who gathered, gave a shout out to everyone who worked on Thanksgiving—including the linemen from BBC Electric who would join the party when their power-restoring work was done for the day—and ended with a Coral Bay “toast” of sorts that drew cheers from the crowd:

“We’re not even Coral Bay Strong. We’re Coral Bay (expletive) Tough!”

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One thought on “The 17th Annual Thankspigging in Coral Bay

  1. Pingback: Thankspigging in Coral Bay | re:Write | Business Writing and Strategic Communications for Non-Profits, Small Businesses, and Entrepreneurs | Writing Seminars | Journalism | Storytelling

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