Let’s Talk Turkey: Thanksgiving by the Numbers

By Ann Wlazelek



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



Number of colonists who attended the first dinner



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



How many days the first Thanksgiving celebration lasted



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



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



The year Congress declared Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday



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



Average weight in pounds of the T-day bird



Heaviest (in pounds) turkey ever raised



Number of feathers on a mature turkey



Pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound turkey



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



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



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



The percentage of Americans who eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day



The percentage of turkeys served stuffed



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



Percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving



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



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



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



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.



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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