Let’s Talk Turkey: Thanksgiving by the Numbers

By Ann Wlazelek

Page

1621

The year many believe was the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony, present-day Massachusetts.


 

53

Number of colonists who attended the first dinner


 

90

Number of Wampanoag native Americans who shared the feast that likely included lobster, rabbit, venison, chestnuts and cabbage but not turkey, corn or pumpkin pie


 

3

How many days the first Thanksgiving celebration lasted


 

40

The number of years that American magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale (best known as the author of the popular children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) lobbied for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday


 

1863

When President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November


 

1941

The year Congress declared Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday


 

280

Number of millions of turkeys are sold for the holiday in the U.S.


 

15

Average weight in pounds of the T-day bird


 

86

Heaviest (in pounds) turkey ever raised


 

3,500

Number of feathers on a mature turkey


 

75

Pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound turkey


 

13.3

Average pounds of turkey consumed in the U.S. each year


 

26

The number of tons of frozen turkeys over-ordered by Swanson in 1953 that became America’s first TV dinners


 

10

How many millions of years ago turkeys are believed to have roamed the Americas


 

91

The percentage of Americans who eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day


 

50

The percentage of turkeys served stuffed


 

40

Number in millions of green bean casseroles that accompany the turkey day feast


 

20

Percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving


 

42.2

Millions of Americans estimated to travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend (by AAA in 2010)


 

1.1

Billion pounds of pumpkin produced per year by Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York, the major pumpkin-growing states.


 

972

Million of pounds of sweet potatoes that are grown each year in North Carolina to help serve up the popular Thanksgiving side dish


 

2,020

Pounds weighed by the largest pumpkin pie on record with Guinness Book of World Records. Baked on Oct. 8, 2005, by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers of Ohio, the pie measured 12 feet long and contained 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, 250 pounds of crust.


 

440

Number of residents in Turkey Creek, Louisiana, one of at least four U.S. towns with turkey in its name. Others include Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; Turkey Creek, Arizona; and two townships in Pennsylvania: Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.

 

 

Sources: CNN, The History Channel, Smithsonian Magazine, Library of Congress, U>S> Department of Agriculture, National Women’s History Museum, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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