Smashfest Offers Black Friday Stress Relief and Family Fun

The Scrap Exchange's Alternative to Black Friday Shopping
Photo by Paola Kipp courtesy of The Scrap Exchange
Fire throwers at The Scrap Exchange's Smashfest provide entertainment for families seeking an alternative to Black Friday shopping.

In the mood to smash stuff? Why not do it for a good cause and take your family along on Black Friday? Smashfest — The Scrap Exchange’s annual post-Thanksgiving, anti-consumerism, fundraiser — offers a fun outlet for families, 3-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25, in Durham.

The nonprofit creative reuse center is inviting all to show up to the admission-free event to enjoy the festivities or to buy something to throw against a dumpster to relieve their holiday stress outdoors. Items for smashing will range from plates and paint-filled ornaments to mirrors and even a flaming toilet. The pieces will eventually be made into other objects by The Scrap Exchange patrons so smashers need feel no guilt about breaking things.

The fundraiser will also feature Junk Jams, which is The Scrap Exchange’s DIY music-making activity; fire spinning; fire pits; and quirky, old movie vignette projections provided by A/V Geeks of Raleigh. Smashables are for sale; all other activities are free.

Photos below by Daniel Bagnell courtesy of The Scrap Exchange 

Visitors can buy food from Bandito’s Tacotopia food truck and Sam’s Quik Shop beer, and soak in the sounds of metal bands Slime, of Durham, and Pie Face Girls, of Raleigh. The event takes place at 2050 Chapel Hill Road in the Lakewood Shopping Center.

The first Smashfest was an evening event, but each year since, the event has started a little earlier to provide more daylight hours to welcome young children. Visitors fling items from a large loading dock that is above the ground, so it’s easy for kids to drop things, even if their throwing arm isn’t strong.

“It’s fun for kids to smash something,” says Daniel Bagnell, the Scrap Exchange’s driver and graphic designer, who helped start the event as a way for staffers to release tension after their move to a new location. “The past few years, we’ve realized how much fun the kids have. I have a 6-year-old, and he’s been to every single one of them and he loves them.”

As evening descends, Smashfest caters more to grownups and less to children. For example, this year, a DJ will be present early on, and the live bands will perform later on. Although the day after Thanksgiving might seem like an unlikely time to draw visitors, people do show up, Bagnell says.

“It’s kind of like having a weird family reunion, a lot of people come every year, and this year especially, I think a lot of people are stressed,” he says, laughing. “We’re thinking of making a large 2016 on a cardboard that people can throw things at.”

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