“Eat Like a Pilgrim” event connects Utahns to historic roots.

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A young girl gets put in the stockade for not being in costume. (Rachel Olsen)
A young girl gets put in the stockade for not being in costume at Thanksgiving Point’s, “Eat Like a Pilgrim” event. (Rachel Olsen)

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, Thanksgiving Point is holding their annual “Eat Like a Pilgrim” event  on Nov. 20, 21 and 23 to remind Utahns of their historical roots.

“Eat Like a Pilgrim” offers the only truly authentic Thanksgiving feast outside of New England, making it a unique and rare experience close to home.

This Thanksgiving feast is the product of events planners, accredited historians and reenactors from the Plymouth Plantation, Alpine School District and Colonial Heritage Foundation. They ensure the authenticity of the food, costumes, role-play and the activities available to attendees.

Sarah Hackin, a recently retired history teacher of 30 years and 2013 teacher of the year from the Alpine school district, specializes in the study of early Pilgrim settlements and has been actively involved in the recreation of this traditional Pilgrim Thanksgiving. She mentioned how the feast will replicate a 17th century Pilgrim meal, a meal with no utensils.

“Pilgrims didn’t have forks during that period of time, so neither will we,” Hackin said. “We are fortunate to have recovered one of the surviving linen napkins of the time and have replicated it for use at the event.”

Some of the foods which will be offered are sliced cheate bread with butter, parched corn roasted pork and turkey, mixed berry cobbler and a house favorite — homemade cold apple cider.

“Its an all-you-can-eat feast, so you can expect chefs to be handing you food left and right,” Hackin said.

In addition to the meal, there will also be a taste testing, where participants can try warm goats milk, a common holiday specialty at a Pilgrim feast.

Aside from food, there are games and other interactive activities for families and children. According to Rachel Olsen, Manager of Signature Experiences at Thanksgiving Point, there will be lively, upbeat Pilgrim dances that families can learn.

She also mentioned that children would be able to make cornhusk dolls, play a game of tug-of-war and other Pilgrim games like “Knicker Box”.

These kids are playing Knicker Box. he goal is to roll your marble through the arches, without having it roll back through the arch it just rolled through. (Rachel Olsen)
These kids are playing Knicker Box. The goal is to roll your marble through the arches without having it roll back through the same arch it rolled through. (Rachel Olsen)

The games and activities will be hosted by historical reenactors, whom Olsen has been coordinating with for months. She is especially excited to see how visitors interact with these fully costumed Pilgrims.

“Everyone who comes is more than welcome to come dressed up,” the manager said. “If you are not dressed up though, you might get some comments from the reenactors and they could put you in the stockade.”

While fun activities and food make up a majority of the event, artifact displays give locals the opportunity to learn more about their Pilgrim ancestors.

“One of our attractions is a scaled model of the Mayflower,” Hackin said. “The artisans and blacksmith that built it know more about the Mayflower than anybody and were able to use the actual blueprint of the ship to create this model.”

A significant reason “Eat Like a Pilgrim” is held every year is to help contribute to the spirit of Thanksgiving. Brad Heap, a BYU public health major, understands Thanksgiving to be a time to express gratitude towards family and friends, like many others who celebrate the season.

“Thanksgiving is one of the only times each year where my entire family comes together,” Heap said. “I love Thanksgiving because I am surrounded by the people I love most, who do so much for me.”

Both Olsen and Hackin want participants to remember their family, past and present, and this event provides a medium for grateful celebrators, like Heap, to remember and pay respect for Pilgrim ancestors that sacrificed much for this nation.

As Hackin said, “we need to remember their sacrifices; Thanksgiving tends to get lost in the seasons, and this is our way of paying tribute to them.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased on the Thanksgiving Point website and is located at 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, Utah 84043.

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