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Thanksgiving Fun Facts

Impress your family and friends around the table on Thursday with these fun and interesting Thanksgiving facts! Don’t worry if your stories put everyone to sleep; just blame it on the tryptophan!

  • President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving – more 200 years after the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony,Massachusetts, in 1621. However, holiday wasn’t declared an official national holiday until 1941.
  • The original Thanksgiving feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September.
  • Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims’ menu.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau,Minnesotais the top turkey-producing state inAmerica, with a planned production total of 49 million in 2008. Two-thirds of the estimated 271 million birds that will be raised in the U.S. this year will be produced by just six states alone: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and Indiana.
  • The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds and has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
  • 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 cranberry is one of only three fruits—the others are the blueberry and the Concord grape—that are entirely native to North American soil, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association.
  • Cranberry production in the U.S. reached 750 million pounds by the end of 2011. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the top cranberry growing states
  • 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 inOhio, 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.
  • 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 inNew York Cityin 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.
  • The first time the Detroit Lions played football on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934, when they hosted the Chicago Bears at the Universityof Detroitstadium, in front of 26,000 fans. The NBC radio network broadcast the game on 94 stations across the country–the first national Thanksgiving football broadcast. Since that time, the Lions have played a game every Thanksgiving (except between 1939 and 1944).





*Thanksgiving fun facts provided by those smartypants at

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