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Thanksgiving tradition returns to Rochester’s Southwedge neighborhood

Each year hundreds of socks are donated to St. Joe's House of Hospitality during the Thangsgiving Wedge Waddles
Wedge Waddle organizer
Each year hundreds of socks are donated to St. Joe's House of Hospitality during the Thangsgiving Wedge Waddles

Friends and neighbors of Rochester's South Wedge neighborhood are excited to gather again this week for the annual Wedge Waddle. The Thanksgiving walk started in 2013 when longtime Southwedge residents Jennifer Posey and Kate Sweeney attended a nearby Thanksgiving 5k and decided to bring something similar to the city of Rochester.

"We came up with our version of a turkey trot 5k but less of a race, said Posey, owner of Hedonist Artisan Chocolates. “It has all of the components of a 5k. You get a bib, a t-shirt, it's exciting participating, but we're not running. Sure, some people run, but most people are gathering and are just being happy to be outside on Thanksgiving for an hour."

A sock drive for St. Joe's House of Hospitality has been a part of the event since its second year. Socks were requested because it is the most needed but least donated item for homeless shelters.

The event was among hundreds of large gatherings canceled during the pandemic's second wave in 2020.

Sweeney said despite the cancellation, many people still "waddled" last year.

"I just did it with a couple of friends because it was outside and we could socially distance, said Sweeney. "We saw many families that just did it on their own and came out because they had been doing it for all the years. Outside was the safest place to be."

The Wedge Waddle takes participants on a three-mile stroll starting at Abundance Food Co-Op, through Southwedge neighborhood streets, and along the Genesee River. Organizers expect close to 1000 participants this year.

The event is free and open to the community. It begins at Abundance Food Co-op on Thursday Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring donations of new socks. Register here.

Participants unable to attend can find sock drop boxes at the following locations.

Abundance Food Co-op • 571 South Avenue

Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream • 672 South Ave.

Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union • 395 Gregory St.

State Farm -Jerry Christopher • 1778 Empire Boulevard • Webster, NY 14580

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.