Fort Riley, Kansas



Library partygoers talk turkey in preparation for Thanksgiving

By Suet Lee-Growney | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | November 10, 2017

     The Fort Riley Post Library threw a Thanksgiving-themed party Nov. 4. The free event wasn’t a typical holiday feast, instead the purpose of the party was to educate library visitors on the holiday mascot itself: the turkey.

     Rebecca Basil, alternate pro­grams manager at the library, said they made sure the party was held a few weeks before the holiday itself so they could have maximum participation.

     “Due to the fact that the holidays — next week is Vet­erans Days and then everybody leaves for Thanksgiving — we went ahead and pushed every­thing up a little bit so that we can accommodate families and not have it interfere with their vacation,” she said.

     Additionally, Basil said they decided to make a bold move by hosting a Thanksgiving party without the traditional food being the main attraction because they wanted the event to be a learning experience.

      “A lot of people don’t think about Thanksgiving, but they think about sitting down and having the meal,” she said. “They don’t think about the turkey or anything like that … We do a Thanksgiving theme party every November because we like to show people that Thanksgiving is not always about just eating that turkey, eating the ham, and learn a lit­tle bit about turkeys and what they are as an animal.”

      During the shindig, library-goers were taught the difference between a male and female turkey call and educated on the difference between a domestic turkey and a wild turkey. After that, they watched a nature show called “My Life as a Turkey” while using their creativity to decorate their own turkeys. Everyone who attended was also treated to refreshments such as hot cocoa, hot cider and built their own trail mix.

      “A lot of people don’t think about what a turkey actually sounds like,” Basil said. “So it was super fun for the kids to actually listen to what a turkey sounds like because they just think of the ‘gobble gobble.’ And they were right on the money when I asked them if it was a male or female turkey. And they said, ‘That sounds like a female,’ and it was. It was actually very surprising. The female sounds more like the ‘gobble gobble’ sound and the male sounds more like a dog-rooster-bark type sound.”

      Basil said the purpose of the event was to draw visitors in and to learn about all they have to offer without feeling the financial pinch.

     “Because we’re so small, a lot of people really don’t know we are here,” Basil said. “This allows the family to come out, see the library, see what we have to offer and just enjoy some time away from home … everything we offer is free so that families don’t feel the financial burden of being able to go out and doing something fun and spending money.”

     It was Skyla Thomas’, 2, daughter of Staff Sgt. Allan Thomas, Company E, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, first time participating in a library event. Her parents heard about the party from the library’s webpage. Allen said he really likes that the library hosts events like this where families can come together.

      “I just like that the library was able to put something together to bring the community together,” he said. “I think that’s really amazing.”

      When asked what was Skyla’s favorite thing about the party, the father and daughter had conflicting opinions.

      “Definitely the marsh­mallows,” Allan said refer­ring to the ingredients Skyla picked out for the trail mix.

      “I like juice,” Skyla said with a wide grin across her face and gumption, despite her limited vocabulary as a 2-year-old. Her father couldn’t help but laugh. She then proceeded to name all the days of the week.

      Allan and his wife both said events like the Thanksgiving party allow them to socialize their only child with kids from other age groups and he appreciates the staff being very polite to all their guests.

     “I don’t know how to explain it, but everyone is just so nice,” he said. “Definitely the staff here is amazing. And I think for them to take their time on a Saturday to put something like this together is really good.”

      Right before Allan and his family left, Skyla said, “I had fun.”