Running, eating and music: Thanksgiving in Utah


Music and running might not immediately bring “Thanksgiving” to mind, but interests like these can open the door for Utah residents to celebrate the holiday and learn of its origins.

Runners in the Pilgrim 5K run the course at Thanksgiving Point. The course goes from the Garden Visitor's Center to the golf course, then loops back to the Garden Visitor's Center. (Alyssa Vincent)
Runners in the Pilgrim 5K run the course at Thanksgiving Point. The course goes from the Garden Visitor’s Center to the golf course, then loops back to the Garden Visitor’s Center. (Alyssa Vincent)


The BYU Philharmonic Orchestra will perform in the de Jong Concert Hall at the Harris Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. The Utah Symphony will perform in the same concert hall the next day at 7:30 p.m.

Another music option for BYU students and families is the Battle of the Bands nights at The Wall. Shows start Tuesday, Nov. 18, and end Saturday, Nov. 22, the Battle of the Bands Finals night. Each show starts at 8 p.m.

Marneé Porter, a junior studying theater art studies, is in one of the non-audition orchestras at BYU. She loves the orchestra and appreciates the influence arts can have on students’ lives, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“You’re going and supporting the arts, but you’re also improving yourself by listening to classic works,” Porter said. She said listening to music is a way to get in touch with the past because of its universal language and emotion.

“It’s like remembering where we’ve been and how far we’ve come and (brings) optimism for the future,” Porter said.

Thanksgiving-themed events

Thanksgiving Point is having a four-night “Eat Like a Pilgrim” event from Nov. 20 to Nov. 24 for visitors to participate in a Thanksgiving reenactment. The event will go from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night (excluding Sunday).

The event will serve early Pilgrims’ traditional food like turkey, roast pork, stewed pumpkins, corn pudding, salad, cobbler and apple cider. Visitors can also experience traditional music and activities. Find tickets here.

Presidents John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush “pardoned” turkeys given to them from becoming Thanksgiving dinner in 1963 and 1989. President Bush’s was the first official pardoning.

Thanksgiving Point is continuing the tradition with Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. Its Fourth Annual Turkey Pardoning is Wednesday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Thanksgiving Day races

Thanksgiving Point started its Pilgrim 5K race last Thanksgiving. “Last year it was an amazing turnout,” said Julia Higginson, communications manager for Thanksgiving Point. She said it’s a great activity for Thanksgiving morning because people get good exercise and it’s a lot of fun.

Registrants for the costume run get a long-sleeved t-shirt that looks like a Pilgrim jacket or dress and a “historically incorrect hat or bonnet,” Higginson said. People can also make their own costumes for the costume contest. Some come dressed as turkeys.

The run is reminiscent of Thanksgiving traditions. “The course is marked with iconic Pilgrim scenes,” Higginson said. Runners finish at Plymouth Rock and can snack on pumpkin bars and apple cider.

The pardoned turkey will greet runners in the Pilgrim 5K at the end of the race. Winners of the races and contest will receive pies and gift cards.

People wishing to participate in the Pilgrim 5K can find more information here.

The Orem Fitness Center will hold an “Earn Your Turkey” four-mile run, a two-mile “health walk” and kid races on Thanksgiving morning. The four-mile run starts at 8 a.m. The two-mile health walk starts at 8:20 a.m., and the kids races start at 9 a.m.

Winners of this race will receive turkeys and/or pies. Prospective participants can find more information here.

The Utah Food Bank is holding a “Utah Human Race” Thanksgiving morning in Draper. The 10K starts at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K starts at 8 o’clock a.m.

The Food Bank asks that participants bring canned goods to the Utah Food Bank during packet pick-up or on race day. The Food Bank will not be giving awards or medals. Canned goods, donations and register fees will go toward the Utah Food Bank’s mission of fighting hunger in Utah.

Runners can find more information for this race here.

Thanksgiving Day meals

Utah resident Sarah Paulsen watches grocery stores for sales and coupons daily. She’s seen grocery stores like Ridley’s offer a discount on turkeys. For every $100 shoppers spend in groceries, they can buy a turkey for 29 cents a pound. For every $50, the turkey is 59 cents a pound. Shoppers just go to the checkout counter with their groceries to get the discount.

Paulsen said it’s an ok deal, but right now there aren’t many good deals. “When it’s closer to Thanksgiving, there will be,” she said.

Paulsen said Smiths is doing a mix-and-match 10 qualifying items shoppers can get for $10. “That would be cheaper,” she said.

The BYU Bowling Center will give a turkey to a person whose name they pull from a drawing. They’ll enter a bowler’s name in the drawing each time they bowl a turkey before Thanksgiving.

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