10/27/2011 01:05 pm ET | Updated Dec 25, 2011

Thanksgiving In Connecticut: A MapQuest Guide

Thanksgiving in Connecticut is a time for gathering with family and loved ones, expressing gratitude and, of course, eating. As part of TurkeyQuest -- a MapQuest guide to Thanksgiving events, featuring everything from parades to holiday sales to activities for families -- here are two of the best ways to experience Thanksgiving in Connecticut and one opportunity to give back to others.

Connecticut Thanksgiving Events Map

UBS Thanksgiving Parade Spectacular

Connecticut is home to the UBS Thanksgiving Parade Spectacular, one of the largest helium-balloon parades in the country. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, the city of Stamford turns its downtown over to marching bands, floats and giant balloons, featuring kids' favorite cartoon characters like Elmo and Popeye. Parents and children alike can get a jump-start on the parade the night before when the giant balloons are inflated before their eyes at the LP Giant Balloon Inflation Party. Both events are free.

1000 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06905

Manchester Road Race

Before chowing down on turkey with all the fixings, families can make room for the calories by participating in the Manchester Road Race. One of the longest-running marathons in the country, the Manchester Road Race has been held for the past 75 years. In addition, runners can spot Olympians and internationally known runners making their way around the course alongside (or well in front of) them. There is even a special section set aside for anyone who would prefer to walk the race. Child runners can compete in the 12-and-under Little Manchester Road Race. Registration for everyone is $20 until early November, when the price goes up to $25.

1151 Main St., Manchester, CT 06040

Volunteer: Thanksgiving For All

Not every family in Connecticut has a big Thanksgiving feast to look forward to. Thankfully, the Connecticut Food Bank is there for them. Families who want to help out can volunteer together to put on the Thanksgiving For All event. Volunteers help with everything from transporting and sorting donated food to sponsoring canned food drives in their own schools, churches or organizations.

150 Bradley St., East Haven, CT 06512 | Go to Huffington Post Impact to see how else you can volunteer.

Thanksgiving In Connecticut: Video

Helium balloons and marching bands fill the streets of downtown Stamford at the city's annual UBS Thanksgiving Parade Spectacular.

Did we miss a Connecticut Thanksgiving event? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great Thanksgiving events and volunteering opportunities? Check out TurkeyQuest and our coverage in Massachusetts, Boston and New York.

Interested in more stories about Connecticut? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.

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