Thanksgiving for turkeys at Farm Sanctuary


At the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, Thanksgiving is a little different.

The farm is home to hundreds of rescued animals but come Thanksgiving time – the turkeys are the star at dinner but they’re the ones doing all the stuffing.

The annual “Celebration for the Turkeys” draws many families and volunteers to the sanctuary, all coming for a very special feast.

The event started more than 30 years ago.

The turkeys get to be the guest of honor and gobble down on their favorite foods like pumpkin pie, squash, cranberries and kale salad.

The birds went straight for desert while others stuck their heads onto greens.  They have fans of all ages – from 3-year-olds to adults.

“It’s about compassion, we don’t eat animals at home and we come at Thanksgiving time when the family has a bird on the table, we don’t do that we bring out Tofurky and we come and celebrate the animals before the holiday,” said supporter Shayna Sebold of Brooklyn, New York. 

National Shelter Diretor, Susie Coston tells 18 News the event is a fun way to learn more about farm animals and meet the turkeys.

“They all have very individual personalities, so Garter that I just walked by tried to bite me for example, that’s her personality and it’s only with certain people, it’s very funny,” said Coston.  “They are all very individual, some of them love to be touched by people, some of them just like to hang out with just other turkeys, some chickens.” 

According to Coston, 46 million turkeys die on Thanksgiving.  

“We want people to see how thankful they are and how wonderful they are and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about,” said Coston.

The event was held on November 18 – 19.  Tickets were $100 for adults and $60 for children that included open sanctuary time to spend quality time interacting with the cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, and pigs, the feeding ceremony, a vegan Thanksgiving feast at the Harbor Hotel as well as speaker presentations and a silent auction.

The Farm Sanctuary holds tours of the farm in the spring if you’d like to meet all the animals.

For information on how to donate to the sanctuary, visit

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