President John F. Kennedy was the first one on record to pardon a turkey – sparing its life. In 1963, he sent back a turkey mailed by the National Turkey Federation, saying, “We’ll just let this one grow.” President Richard Nixon sent turkeys to a Washington, D.C., petting farm but didn’t officially pardon them, according to the White House Blog. President George H.W. Bush gave the first official pardon to a turkey in 1989.
FUN FACT: The survivor lived out its days at a Virginia petting zoo called Frying Pan Park
In 1924, Americans began to watch the spectacular Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. A tradition that began when Macy’s employees held a Christmas parade filled with knights, clowns and jugglers. Turns out there was a great turn out! The 6-mile (9.7-kilometer)-long parade attracted a crowd of 250,000 viewers. The iconic department store decided they needed to do it every year.
Fun Fact: First Balloon was Felix the Cat.
Another family pastime is Thanksgiving football, which began in the Great Depression. In 1930, the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit. In 1934, in order to draw fans, the team’s owner arranged a match between the Spartans (renamed the Lions) and the world champions, the Chicago Bears. Though the Spartans lost, a Thanksgiving tradition was born. The ticket sold out two weeks in advance, and the event became a hit!
Turducken – Hybrid meats
A relatively new creation is the turducken…a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. We can give credit to Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme for popularizing this culinary marvel, although it first appeared in central Louisiana meat shops sometime between the late 1970s and early 1980s.
FUN FACT: The tradition of stuffing birds inside of other birds dates back even further and can be attributed to French foodie Grimod de la Reynière who first described the rôti sans pareil (roast without equal) in L’Almanac des Gourmands between 1803 and 1812. The dish packs 17 birds inside one another, from a tiny warbler all the way up to a giant bird called a bustard.
Whatever your Thanksgiving Traditions are, we hope your Holiday is filled with a good fun, plenty of family and a delicious meal. On behalf of our Alpine Family, we’d like to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.