Fun Facts About Thanksgiving
- The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621. There were 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians present and it lasted three days. It is said by many historians that there were only five women in attendance at the first Thanksgiving, as many of the women settlers didn't survive the first year in the U.S.
- Thanksgiving didn't become a national holiday until 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, famous for writing "Mary Had a Little Lamb," convinced Present Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after writing letters for 17 years campaigning for it to happen.
- During the first Thanksgiving, they didn't serve turkey. Instead, they enjoyed deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. However, they most likely ate pumpkin, but not pumpkin pies like we enjoy.
- The first Thanksgiving was eaten using spoons and knives, but no forks. They weren't invented until 10 years later and weren't a popular utensil until the 18th century.
- You can thank Thanksgiving for the invention of the TV dinner. In 1953, a Swanson employee overestimated the amount of turkeys that were going to be sold that year - by 26 tons! A salesman told them they should freeze and package it in aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes. Thanks to that mistake we now have the TV dinner.
- The first Thanksgiving was almost a fast instead of a feast. If it wasn't for the Wampanoag Indians joining the settlers, the celebration of the first harvest would have had no food.
- Each year, the U.S. president pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. It began in 1947 with President Truman.
- President Abe Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November. However, in 1939, President Roosevelt moved it up to the third Thursday in November. He hoped it would help the shopping season during the Depression era. It never caught on and it was changed back to the fourth Thursday in November two years later.
- The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is watched by over 20 million people and features large balloons, Broadway shows and marching bands. However, it had a humble beginning in 1924. It included 400 employees marching from Convent Ave to 145th street in New York City. Instead of large balloons, it featured only live animals from Central Park Zoo.
- The NFL has held the Thanksgiving Classic since 1920 and since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Turkey Day. In 2006, a third game was added with different team hosting.
The team at Backwater Jack's wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving! If you are traveling, we hope you have fun and stay safe. If you are visiting the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope to see you soon! Lake of the Ozarks best waterfront bar and grill is still open SEVEN days a week, so stop by and join us for a bite to eat.
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