Happy Thanksgiving. Jessica Dysart writes in this Grandparents.com/Huffington Post article about 15 fun Thanksgiving Day facts:


  • According to Roto-Rooter, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers, since both (i) meal prep and cleanup can clog drains and garbage disposals, and (ii) guests requiring additional clothes washing, showers, and toilet flushes put a strain on household plumbing.
  • Big Bird’s suit on Sesame Street consists of turkey feathers that have been dyed yellow. The American Plume & Fancy Feather, maker of the suit, claims that Big Bird is its toughest customer since the costume uses feathers from the rear end of a turkey, which are rarely clean.
  • Every year, millions watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person and on TV. The parade began as the Macy’s Christmas Parade in 1924 to celebrate their expansion and new status as “world’s largest store” and included floats featuring nursery rhyme characters and Santa Claus in his sleigh and bears, elephants, camels, and monkeys loaned from the Central Park Zoo. Giant balloons debuted a few years later, in 1927.
  • Minnesota produced close to 46 million turkeys in 2015, more turkeys than any other state in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line hotline (1-800-BUTTERBALL) answers turkey related questions each November and December. It began in 1981 with six home economists, who answered 11,000 calls about how to cook a turkey and has grown to answer 100,000 calls each season, and include Spanish-speakers, the first male Turkey Talk-Line expert, and email, texting, live chat, and social media platforms. 
  • The National Turkey Foundation (NTF) estimates that around 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, consuming about 46 million turkeys during Thanksgiving 2015.
  • Male turkeys, also called toms, are the only ones that can gobble. The females, or hens, make clucking or clicking sounds.
  • Americans prefer the white meat of the turkey, like the breast. Other countries prefer dark meat. Pacific Islanders, however, prefer a whole different part of the turkey: the tail. 
  • The American Automobile Association (AAA) expects that Thanksgiving 2016 travel will be at its highest since 2007, with 48.7 million Americans projected to trek 50 miles or more. This is an increase of about a million people from 2015. The majority of travelers (around 89 percent) will drive.
  • The first official presidential pardon of a turkey occurred much more recently than most might think: President George H.W. Bush did it in 1989, and it’s become an annual tradition ever since. Stories of unofficial pardons, however, go further back, perhaps even to President Lincoln’s days, when he supposedly pardoned a turkey after an impassioned plea from his son Tad for the bird’s right to live.
  • Though the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, it didn’t become a U.S. holiday until 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln announced it after the Union army won a battle at Gettysburg. Thanksgiving was set as the fourth Thursday in November, and has been since, except for a brief period towards the end of the Depression, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in 1939, in an attempt to boost the economy by giving shoppers more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was reversed in 1941.
  • It’s not exactly clear if turkey was served at the First Thanksgiving, though Colonists and Native Americans did eat wild turkey, according to the Plimoth Plantation, an experimental learning center in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • While domesticated turkeys cannot fly, wild turkeys can, for short distances, and at up to 55 miles per hour, according to the National Turkey Foundation.  They can also run up to 20 miles per hour.
  • The tradition of football games on Thanksgiving dates back to 1934, when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears in the first NFL game broadcast nationally. George A. Richards, a radio executive and owner of the Detroit Lions team, wanted to gain the attention of fans with a Thanksgiving Day game. His idea worked, and all 26,000 tickets sold out two weeks before kickoff. The Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving game each year since. The Dallas Cowboys also began hosting on Thanksgiving in 1966, and a third game was added with rotating matchups in 2006.
  • Americans aren’t the only ones who celebrate Thanksgiving. The first official Thanksgiving in Canada was in 1879, though traditions of honoring the fall harvest predate both the official American and Canadian holidays. The date was moved around until 1957, when Canadian Thanksgiving was set as the second Monday of October.

To read Jessica Dysart’s original article, courtesy of Grandparents.com and The Huffington Post, and view the accompanying pictures, courtesy of The Associated Press, please visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wow-your-family-with-these-15-fun-thanksgiving-facts_us_5835b676e4b01ba68ac3bb65