Bag the cranberry sauce. Hold the dressing. Forget the Jell-O salad. The second-graders at Salt Lake's Highland Park Elementary School know how to hold a real Thanksgiving feast.
About 100 mini Pilgrims and Indians had a taste of the traditional Thanksgiving Tuesday. Their festive feast was reminiscent of the first Thanksgiving of the Plymouth colonists and their Indian neighbors more than 300 years ago, with a menu of turkey, fruit, vegetables, cornbread and nuts. Pumpkin pie, however, replaced the succotash of the Pilgrims' day.The Highland Park feast, now in its fourth year, has offered deer meat in the past, but it was missing from the menu this year.
The annual feast caps the second grade's study of the Pilgrim settlers. After studying about the Plymouth of 1621, the children decide if they want to be a Pilgrim or Indian and then make their own paper costumes in preparation for the feast.
Teachers Maile Rowley, Kathy Bringhurst, Robyn Russell, Carol Randell and Mardee Merrill organize the event, and the food is prepared and donated by the second-graders and their parents.
This year it took three turkeys, 15 pies, 10 pans of cornbread, 5 huge bowls of popcorn and countless fruit and vegetable pieces piled high in mounds to feed the second-graders.
The kids, while munching on turkey and its trimmings, offered a few thoughts on what they learned about the first Thanksgiving.
Eliza Toronto, 7, knew the Pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower, while Jimmy Fetheroll, 8, had no doubts about what transpired at the first Thanksgiving: "They ate."
Jamie Salazar, 8, said she learned that colonists settled in New England "a long, long time ago, 1920 or something like that."
Her friend, Rachel Whitney, 8, captured in a few words the major thrust of the colonization of America. "The Indians kept on giving and never stopped giving to the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims took over their land and put the Indians in a little corner," she said.
Rachel was dressed as an Indian.