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Annual Thanksgiving Orphan Party

You’re invited to the VanFossen
Annual Thanksgiving Orphan Party
Saturday, November 30, 2013

For many years we’ve gathered together anyone missing home, left out of Thanksgiving celebrations, or eager for more social during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. You are invited to join the craziness.

It starts around 2PM. We eat about 6PM, if things go as planned.

The theme this year is “Home.” Bring something that represents home to you, hopefully edible.

Friends gather at the VanFossens and are entertained by friend, John Doan, on the harp guitar - photography by Lorelle VanFossen.

When we were traveling on the road full-time, far from friends and family, we’d throw these impromptu holiday events to bring together whoever was around, in campgrounds or wherever we were, to share stories, play games, sing songs, eat too much, and just hang out, creating a sense of family, or as my friend DeBorah calls it, fambly. Fambly is the family you choose not the ones forced upon you by genetics.

Our home is open to anyone in the Portland, Oregon, area. We’ve had people sometimes travel great distances, but the goal is to create a day where people can be with friends, new and old.

john doan - karla fisher - brent vanfossen - guitar trio at vanfossen holiday party.Join us in the woods for some good company. We talk about WordPress, blogging, social media, woodworking, remodeling, books, writing, work, not work, hobbies, politics, sing songs, play games, watch movies or missed episodes of Doctor Who, and just hang out. Bring a friend. Children welcome. There is a playroom area for them downstairs and children movies to enjoy. If weather permits, short hikes or play outside. There is a hot tub, clothing optional. Well-behaved pets are welcome. We have a cat who sometimes makes an appearance.

There is a BBQ grill for those bringing food to cook or heat up, and the typical (and not typical) kitchen supplies. For those wishing to spend the night, we’ve plenty of room and beds.

We are 45 minutes from Vancouver, 30 from downtown Portland, 15-20 from Beaverton and Forest Grove, traffic permitting. Train pickups and carpooling can be arranged.

We love to have you join us for this annual tradition bringing together fascinating people to remember what thanksgiving is really about.

If you are interested, leave a comment with your email in the comment form below, or the Contact Form and I’ll send you directions and more information.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for you generous invite. I will forever regret not living in Oregon, but I have family members who do. If I can extend your invite to one of the maybe I won’t fell so left out.

    Thank you again. Alethea

    • Posted November 22, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      They would be welcome. Why not do the same in your area? We’ve had 5 people show up and 50 show up. We’re open for anything, and each time it has been wonderful.

      On the year that five people showed up, I got to know a wonderful man, part of the local WordPress community and much beloved, yet a quiet man. A few months later he emailed me to tell me again what a lovely time he had, and not long later I heard that he died. How wonderful to have shared that time with him. He knew he was dying, but rarely let on.

      You never know who you will meet or what will happen. We go with the flow no matter what. Try it. You’ll like it.

  2. Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to share the warmth of your casa, Lorelle! Thank you for the amazing invitation.

  3. Posted November 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget the turkey baster… What would Thanksgiving be like without the baster??? xoxoxoxo Gordy & Risa…. We’re with you and Brent in spirit… alone in Miami… 🙂

    • Posted November 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      LOL!!!! I just told that story yesterday!!!! Thanksgiving without YOU and Gordy, let alone the baster, just isn’t a proper Thanksgiving. Miss you! Will be thinking about you and telling stories. And don’t be alone, my crazy friend. You are never alone.

  4. Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    How wonderful that you do this! My partner (engaged to never be married) and I are full time snowbirds in Alabama. In all the campgrounds we have stayed at there are always potlucks planned for holidays. It’s cool to see what others think of traditional holiday foods! We always bring something that’s part of our families’ traditions. It makes the holidays a bit more cheery!

    Happy holidays to you and everyone who joins you!

    • Posted November 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Having lived on the road full-time for over 16 years, I know you, literally. Love it that you bring your family traditions with you wherever you go. That’s the secret sauce! Wonderful Thanks.

  5. Posted November 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    I would love to come join you and yours this year. Thank you for the invite.


  6. Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    I will join you later this year. Love to see you again.
    Coming to Portland for World Domination Summit in July.

    Warm regards,

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