Thanksgiving: More than just a feast

Families and friends of all ages gathered together on Saturday at the Charles M. Schulz Museum for a “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” This event began last year as a dedication to the 40th anniversary of the short film’s first airing. Since then, the volunteers and staff for the Charles M. Schulz Museum decided the event should continue for the nostalgic joy it brought to a wide demographic.

Gina Huntsinger, the marketing director at the Charles M. Schulz Museum for over 10 years, was overjoyed with the turnout and hopes to keep the event running for many years to come. 

“I love the story behind this event,” said Huntsinger. “Last year we were trying to figure out how to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ and we thought ‘Wouldn’t everybody want to see it on the big screen? We could even recreate Snoopy’s terrible Thanksgiving meal.’ Everyone could bring their grandkids and show them their favorite special when they were growing up.” 

Huntsinger was proud to be a part of the event for its second year in a row and to be a part of its origin. 

“This has become such a sweet event in my opinion, because I love to see that people are taking their kids to see something that they enjoyed while they were growing up,” said Huntsinger. Grandparents can relate to it and grandkids can relate to it, so every age in the family can really have fun. I think it should be a tradition.”

The museum brought contribution to the food bank by allowing attendees one free child’s admission ticket for every two cans of soup donated. Bins were filled to the top with cans as people contributed to support those less fortunate.

Admission for the event included Snoopy’s Thanksgiving meal in the Great Hall, a showing of “A Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving” in the Auditorium, arts and crafts upstairs in the Education Room and admission into the entire Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. 

The Great Hall had stations that served an exact replication of Snoopy’s meal from the short film “A Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.” This included jellybeans, pretzels, popcorn and variations of toast. The volunteers got creative with the toast as there were many varieties from cinnamon-chocolate to garlic-parmesan.

 Food was allowed in the auditorium and throughout most of the museum, excluding the gallery. Just like in the short film, there was also a Snoopy wearing a chef’s hat walking around the museum for hugs and photographs with the guests. 

The auditorium played “A Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving” on a loop for hours. This allowed everyone the chance to watch the short film. The squabbling chemistry between Snoopy and Woodstock on the big screen had children, parents and grandparents alike all laughing and smiling together. The seats were always full and those who were too impatient to wait until the next showing had no problem sitting on the floor.

Although comical, the short film has a deep message that represents what Thanksgiving is all about. In one scene, Peppermint Patty is frustrated at the terrible meal Snoopy and Charlie Brown present, yet under further reconsideration she realized Thanksgiving is about more than just the food. 

“Thanksgiving isn’t about the food, it’s about being together,” said the Peanuts gang. 

After the short film there was a brief “making-of” video that featured the producer of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” Charles M. Schulz’s wife, son and some of the voice actors from the show. They all spoke of what it was like to make the special and to be a part of the series as a whole, sharing their favorite memories and moments as they turned a comic strip into a motion cartoon.

Upstairs, in the Education Room, there were endless art materials for children and their families to create something special. Tables topped with glue sticks, markers, googly-eyes, cardboard tubes and colored construction paper allowing guests to create their own Thanksgiving turkeys, fall leaf garlands and whatever else their imagination desired. 

There were coloring books, stickers, how-to instructions to draw characters from the Peanuts gang and the option to make one’s own cartoon strip come to life in a giant zoetrope — a device used to bring motion to a sequence of drawings.

The event lasted from 1-4 p.m. and gave all ages a chance to come together and share how thankful they were for one another.