Turkey Day Facts For Tallahassee History Buffs
These include the Turkey Trot (celebrating its’ 25th year!) , stuffing your belly with a huge turkey dinner and then putting on your track shoes, yoga pants and elbow pads to start Black Friday shopping.
Here are some other interesting facts about Thanksgiving you may have never known:
1. Sarah Josepha Hale, writer of the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme, was the woman who convinced Abraham Lincoln to issue a decree recognizing Thanksgiving as a historic American tradition in 1863. President Lincoln was actually the first president to grant a pardon to a turkey for Thanksgiving, though most people believe President Truman began the tradition.
Lincoln’s son, Tad, had a pet turkey that was set to make the Thanksgiving meal - but Lincoln showed mercy on the bird much to his son’s delight!
2. In 1939 President FDR tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to be a week earlier in an attempt to boost retail sales during the Great Depression. The decision was met with great discord and to keep the peace, the mayor of Atlantic City even declared his residents could enjoy two holidays - Thanksgiving and “Franksgiving.”
After two years of argument, Congress made a 1941 resolution that the official legal holiday would always fall on the 4th Thursday of November.
3. London’s Westminster Abbey held Thanksgiving services for U.S. Troops stationed in England during WWII. “America, the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner” filled the church as more than 3,500 soldiers of a foreign army were invited to take over the grounds for the first time in the church’s history.
4. The first TV dinners were a result of Thanksgiving leftovers. In 1953, the Swanson company overestimated the amount of turkey Americans would eat for Thanksgiving that year resulting in over 260 tons of frozen turkeys that were unused.
A Swanson salesman decided to order 5,000 aluminum trays and set up an assembly line of workers with spatulas and ice-cream scoops to create mini Thanksgiving feasts that could be frozen and reheated at-will.
5. Thanksgiving is now always associated with food, family, and football. The first NFL game held on Thanksgiving was the Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears in 1934. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving every year since except when the team was called to serve during WWII.
6. Many people also don't know that if you are looking for a non-traditional way to enjoy Thanksgiving in Tallahassee this year, there are several restaurants that will remain open, AMC Theatres will be showing movies all day, and most bars along the Tennessee Strip turn into makeshift High School reunion spots for the out-of-towners.
However you choose to spend your holiday, stay thankful and stay safe!