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Three-year-old Micah Iannopollo burrowed into a blue nylon tube and waited for the ready signal. When it came, he was off like a shot.
The headband that identified him as the turkey slid down around his neck as he ran away from the Pilgrims, played by other children who took part in Fuquay-Varinas first preschool Turkey Trot on Tuesday.
Town Parks and Recreation Program Manager Anthony DiMarzio paired the Turkey Trot a game of tag with a story about the origins of Thanksgiving. The holiday has special meaning for DiMarzio, who grew up near Plymouth, Mass., and studied history in college.
Thanksgiving was a big deal for us, he said. We would do arts and crafts, watch videos, and we took field trips to Plimoth Plantation.
Plimoth Plantation is a Native American and English living history museum in Plymouth, Mass. The museum has a replica of the Mayflower ship, a duplicate of a 17th-century English farming village and a Wetu, the Wampanoag Indian tribes word for house.
DiMarzio shared his knowledge with preschoolers about why the Pilgrims left England and how they befriended the Wampanoags.
He didnt expect the pre-schoolers to become experts, but he thought sharing the holidays history was important.
They understand the big themes like New World and England and turkey, DiMarzio said. I dont expect them to learn it. I wanted them to be exposed to it.
Parts of the history lesson stuck with the kids.
Philipp Rau, 4, instantly recognized the cartoon character in DiMarzios presentation.
Garfield, he piped in. He had on a turkey suit and he went Cluck, cluck, cluck.
Paige Schoeopner, 4, remembered another detail about the holiday: They went to see the Indians and they had a delicious meal for three days.
For 3-year-old Micah, the best part was getting to run around and chase the turkey.
We wore the turkey hat, he said. It got away.