Derek Pashupa Goodwin
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Writings on yoga and photography by Derek Pashupa Goodwin

Thanksliving in October

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Turkeys like to eat their greens Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary traditionally holds its annual Thanksliving event in November to coincide with the turkey massacre we know as Thanksgiving. They rent a huge banquet tent and heat it up nice and toasty for the hundreds of guests, who get to eat a wonderful catered vegan meal and listen to interesting talks by renown animal rights activists and vegan advocates. The highlight of the event is meeting the animals on the farm and feeding the turkeys a feast that contains squash, cranberries, lettuce, and other yummy whole foods that any turkey would enjoy. As you can see in the photo, the turkeys really enjoy this part of the event. The only down side is that in Woodstock NY when it is the last week in November it is usually pretty cold, it gets dark early, and it is even likely to snow.

This year the organization decided to have the event a month earlier so that there was a better chance of good weather. It was a great plan, since there would also be luscious fall foliage as a backdrop, and some extra daylight to enjoy. Leading up to the event it looked like it was going to rain and be crappy, but luckily Mama Nature came through and although it was a little overcast it was lovely, and the heaters inside the tent kept it warm enough where a working photographer would be fine in a tee shirt.

Turkeys creating a heart shape

The event was well organized this year, and although I heard rumors of some near misses to me it seemed smooth like vegan chocolate syrup pouring into a soy mocha latte. The ever weird and witty comedian/comic/board member Dan Piraro MC'd the event. He projected strips from his syndicated comic Bizarro onto the wall of the tent and made random deadpan comments about them, weaving us all into his surreal twisted worlds as soymilk sprayed out our nostrils.

The featured speakers were Nathan Runkle of Mercy For Animals, John Phillips of the NY League of Humane Voters, and sanctuary cofounder and director Jenny Brown. Also in attendance were Sharon Gannon and David Life of Jivamuki Yoga and Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute. The amazing and effervescent band Ida played a couple sets as well, on a stage that seemed to be made of hay bales.

The highlights for me were getting to visit with old human and animal friends, eating the hearty vegan food, being brought to tears once again by Jenny Brown's keynote, and winning a Comedy Central DVD set in the raffle. The vegan pumpkin cheesecake by Vegan Treats was freaking amazing too... all in all I think it was the best Woodstock Thanksliving so far.

Enjoy some of my favorite Thanksliving Photos:

Duck next to the new duck pond

Loving a Turkey

Pigs Kissing

Ed Coffin from Vegan Drinks Philly

Chocolate cake and pumpkin cheesecake by Vegan Treats

Woodstock founders Jenny Brown and Doug abel receive an award from Ulster County Legislator Brian Shapiro

Dan Piraro eating seitan on stage

Volunteers Sarah Peters and Gena Hamshaw

Dylan showing off his tongue

Zaac the mushroom maniac

Hiding a lollipop from the Turkeys

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