- Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often – Johnny Carson.
- Thanksgiving is America’s national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty – Michael Dresser.
- He who thanks but with the lips, thanks but in part; the full, the true Thanksgiving Comes from the heart – J.A. Shedd.
- An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day – Iry Kupcinet.
- There is no sincerer love than the love of food – George Bernard Shaw.
- The thing I’m most thankful for right now is elastic waistbands – Unknown Author.
Thanksgiving Over the Years
- Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. More than 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.
- Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned for a national Thanksgiving holiday for close to 40 years in the 19th century, believing that “Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people.” She was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Thanksgiving On the Table
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 46.5 million in 2011. Six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana—account for nearly two-thirds of the 248 million turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. this year.
- The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States—were eaten on Thanksgiving.
- In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
- Cranberry production in the U.S. is expected to reach 750 million pounds in 2011. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the top cranberry growing states.
- Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states, together they produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Total U.S. production was over 1.5 billion pounds.
- The sweet potato is most plentifully produced in North Carolina, which grew 972 million pounds of the popular Thanksgiving side dish vegetable in 2010. Other sweet potato powerhouses included California and Mississippi, and the top producing states together generated over 2.4 billion pounds of the tuber
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust.
Thanksgiving Around the Country
- Three towns in the U.S. take their name from the traditional Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363); and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).
- Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade—to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season—the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.
- Tony Sarg, a children’s book illustrator and puppeteer, designed the first giant hot air balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. He later created the elaborate mechanically animated window displays that grace the façade of the New York store from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
- Snoopy has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history. As the Flying Ace, Snoopy made his sixth appearance in the 2006 parade.