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Tuesday, 25 November 2014 14:19

Potato Turkeys a 12-Year Success for Tang Teaching Museum

By | Education
Zoe Shapiro, 8, shows off her fancy turkey. Zoe Shapiro, 8, shows off her fancy turkey. Photo by Sharon Castro

Community Members Create Turkey Centerpieces out of Potatoes, Pipe Cleaners

SARATOGA SPRINGS – More than 100 community members gathered together at Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum Saturday, Nov. 22 for the 12th annual Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza. 

The event, part of the museum’s Family Saturday programs, has become a staple event for many. What started out as an art-making project more than a decade ago has turned into a Thanksgiving tradition not to be missed.

“This is my favorite thing we do all year long,” said Ginger Ertz, museum educator for K-12 and community programs.

Ertz is the founder of the beloved Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza and started the event in 2002. Participants are given a russet potato and a collection of colorful feathers, pipe cleaners, beads, frill picks and potato sticks, and are tasked with creating turkey to display as a centerpiece during Thanksgiving.

“When I was little, we always made a turkey out of a potato but we cut the feathers and wings and everything out of cardboard and sort of shoved them into the potato,” said Ertz. “So when I started this job and became in charge of Family Saturdays I thought, ‘Well, let’s up that.’ Also, I’m a pipe cleaner artist.”

11-year-old Ellie Sweeney Benzon and her brother, 5-year-old Jack, were hard at work, creating colorful turkeys to place at the center of their table on Thanksgiving.

“I like it a lot,” said Ellie. “I like the peacock colors and I’m using a lot of twirly pipe cleaners.”

Meanwhile, Jack was decorating his turkey using his favorite colors – blue and green.

“It’s a fancy turkey,” said Zoe Shapiro, 8. “I used pipe cleaners and beads…I’m going to put it on the table for Thanksgiving!”

“I love it,” said Ertz. “I wish I could go to all of their houses and see their tables!”

The Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza is held every Saturday right before Thanksgiving. 

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