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Fun Thanksgiving Facts!

Chuck Campbell

November 26, 2013

 Now that Thanksgiving week is upon us (and how many of you are surprised at how quickly it got here this year?), we thought it might be fun to post some interesting facts about the holiday...

  • Approximately 46 million turkeys ended up on dinner tables in the U.S. last Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation (yes, there is such an agency). That's about 736 million pounds of turkey. No wonder we all needed a nap after dinner.
  • More turkeys are raised in Minnesota than any other state.
  • The first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, was held in October 1621. About 50 English colonists had dinner with about 90 Wampanoag Native Americans, according to historians.
  • Edward Winslow, leader of the colony, wrote a description of the first dinner in a letter that was lost for more than 200 years and then rediscovered in the 1800s.
  • Alexander Young, a Boston publisher, printed Winslow's account in 1841 and named the 1621 dinner the "First Thanksgiving."
  • President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863, during the middle of the Civil War.
  • In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in October as the official date of the holiday.
  • Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to his daughter that the turkey should be the official U.S. bird, instead of the bald eagle. He thought the turkey was "a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America."
  • Wild turkeys can run 10 to 20 miles an hour and fly in short bursts up to 55 miles an hour. Domesticated turkeys can't fly at all. This would explain "WKRP in Cincinnati" station manager Arthur Carlson's confusion back in the late 1970s. (WKRP on YouTube)
  • NBC Radio broadcast the first national Thanksgiving Day football game in 1934. The Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears, and the Lions have played every Thanksgiving since then - except during World War II.
  • The first Thanksgiving Day parade was held by Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia, in 1920. Still held each year, it is now known as the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Macy's started their annual parade in 1924. The iconic helium-filled balloons were introduced in 1927, and the parade was first televised nationally in 1947. It now draws an audience of approximately 44 million viewers, and 3 million people line the parade route each year in New York.
  • Canada's Thanksgiving, inspired by the U.S. holiday, was established in 1879 and is held on the second Monday in October. Sorry - you missed your shot at an early turkey dinner 6 weeks ago!


So there you go ... enough Thanksgiving trivia to amuse your family and friends during those lulls between between parades, football games and mouthfuls of food.


ms consultants wishes you a safe and wonderful holiday!