A turkey that weighed 86 pounds?

That and other interesting Thanksgiving facts

  • There are four towns in the United States named after turkeys and seven towns named after popular Thanksgiving side dishes. Towns and cities named after cranberries are the most popular. In total, seven townships and cities are named for cranberries, though most have different spellings.
  • Last year there were 254 million turkeys raised in the United States. Minnesota, along with North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana and California, accounted for 70 percent of the turkeys raised in the United States last year.
  • Turkey was the first meal enjoyed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when they were on the moon.
  • It’s hard to imagine the turkey as the official bird of the United States, but if Ben Franklin had had his way, it could have been. “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country! The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America,” Franklin said in a letter to his daughter.
  • Only male turkeys, called toms, gobble. Females, called hens, cackle.
  • Abe Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but it was thanks to the tireless efforts of a magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale. She also wrote the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb.”
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • 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 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.
  • Snoopy has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history.
  • Each year the President of the United States saves a turkey. This lucky turkey is guaranteed to spend the rest of its life living freely and not ending up on a turkey platter.