We are fortunate to have spent this past Saturday with hundreds of other people, who like us would much rather hug turkeys than eat them. Farm Sanctuary's annual Thanksgiving Celebration FOR the Turkeys in Acton, CA, USA was once again a beautiful and fun event for all.
The turkeys were the guests of honor at this celebration, and they got to eat first. They feasted on pumpkin-cranberry pie and a green salad. Many people were surprised to see that turkeys love to be petted (much like dogs and cats), and will even sit in your lap to get hugs! It was nice to see so many children and toddlers, as well as adults interacting with these incredibly affectionate and intelligent animals. Since it was so crowded, and we already had the opportunity to spend time with the turkeys on previous occasions, we decided to step back and let first-timers and others get up close and personal. I stood on a hay bale in the back, held the camera way above my head and blindly snapped this photo. I think it turned out not too bad (except for the fact that you can't see any of the turkeys):
The turkeys seemed to relish the attention, and some even puffed out their feathers as they regally posed for pics (I'm talking about you, Rosie!). The sanctuary's other animals also joined in the festivities and mingled with the humans. We were happy to see Safran (a rescued dairy/veal calf), and were surprised to see how big he had gotten since our last visit.
We headed down to the huge white tent where the humans would be dining. Since it was unguarded, I snuck inside to snap a few pics as they were setting up. Everything looked so elegant and festive!
The vegan dinner prepared by One Veg World was amazing! The main course was a Native Wellington (an elegant puff pastry filled with seitan, steamed kale, and thinly sliced yams, and stuffing made with whole wheat bread, caramelized onion compote and thyme mushrooms) by Native Foods Cafe (available for Thanksgiving orders). Sides included mushroom gravy, rosemary roasted potatoes, glazed ginger carrots and Brussels sprouts, kale salad, and cinnamon cranberry sauce. Dessert was a moist and decadent pumpkin cake with a spiced buttercream frosting.
The event was fabulously emceed by long-time vegetarian Lu Parker, anchor of the KTLA 5 Morning News. All four speakers were wonderful and inspiring: vegan dietitian Julieanna Hever, vegan ultra-endurance athletes Scott Jurek and Rich Roll, and Farm Sanctuary Co-Founder Gene Baur. A highlight of the evening was when Lu Parker announced that she would make the effort to transition to becoming vegan...the crowd erupted into cheers when she said that!
Events like these can help vegans feel less alone during holidays, when many of their friends and family still choose to eat animals and animal products. It's an incredible feeling to be at such a huge celebration where every single person there is enjoying a vegan meal. I truly hope that this will be the norm at all Thanksgiving celebrations some day.
Thanks for reading. Peace and love to all who live.