Monday, Jul 28, 2014
Local News

From the Census: a few Thanksgiving facts


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SEBRING - If were too busy gobbling a Thanksgiving meal, watching the Dallas Cowboys squeak by the Oakland Raiders, and shopping on Black Friday to learn the reason for the season, kick back in your new La-Z-Boy faux leather recliner-rocker with pillow-padded arms and chaise seat for added leg support and dig these festive facts:

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims who settled Plymouth Colony celebrate a bountiful harvest with Wampanoag Indians. That event is three-day feast (and you thought you gorged yourself) was regarded as this nation's first Thanksgiving.

The original 35 Pilgrims set out from Plymouth, in southwestern England, in September 1620 and formed the English Separatist Church. Thirteen years earlier, some had settled in the Netherlands, the Dutch capital.

The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 150 on Oct. 3, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt later clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

Number of occupied housing units across the nation - all potential places for Thanksgiving feasts: 115 million.

There are 12,914 households in the Avon Park census county division, 9,328 in Lake Placid CCD, and 17,728 in Sebring CCD.

Two places in the United States are named Pilgrim: a township in Dade County, Mo., had a 2012 population of 127; the other, a community in Michigan, had a 2010 population of 11.

Two places are named Mayflower: Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,312 in 2012, and Mayflower Village, Calif., whose population was 5,515 in 2010.

Number of U.S. residents of English ancestry, 25.3 million. Some could be descendants of Plymouth colonists who participated in the autumn feast that is widely believed to be one of the first Thanksgivings ? especially the 684,000 living in Massachusetts.

In Avon Park CCD, 3,849 claim English ancestry, 2,478 in Lake Placid, and 5,816 in Sebring.

Number of members of the Wampanoag American Indians; 6,500. About half live in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag were also present for the First Feast.

In Avon Park CCD, 403 claim Dutch ancestry, 376 in Lake Placid, and 1,341 in Sebring.

The number of turkeys forecasted to be raised in the United States in 2013: 242 million. The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys for 2012: $23.1 million. About 99.8 percent come from Canada. The United States ran a $17.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys. Minnesota will raise 45 million in 2013. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina, 35 million, and Arkansas. 29 million.

In 2011, Florida produced about 62,000 turkeys.

Number of places in the United States named after the main course: 4. Turkey Creek, La., was the most populous in 2012, with 440 residents, followed by Turkey, Texas, 415, and Turkey, N.C. There's also Turkey Creek, Ariz., and two townships in Pennsylvania: Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.

Forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2012, 768 million pounds. Wisconsin lead all states with 450 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts, 210 million. New Jersey, Oregon and Washington produce from 14 to 54 million pounds.

Florida grows a cranberry-like fruit, sabdariffa. Also known as Roselle, it's related to okra and it's officially a hibiscus, but it can be made into a cranberry-style sauce, wine or jelly. It's used around the world.

Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry: 7. Cranbury, N.J., two Cranberry Townships, Pa., and Cranberry Lake, N.Y., are among them.

Total weight from major sweet potato producing states in 2012, 2.6 billion pounds: North Carolina grows 1.2 billion pounds, followed by California, Mississippi and Louisiana. They're also grown in North Florida.

And by the way, sweet potatoes aren't potatoes, and they're not yams. Yams are tubers that grow from a vine. Potatoes are also tubers. Like carrots, sweet potatoes are actually roots.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics; USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

gpinnell@highlandstoday.com

863-386-5828

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