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Daybreak is well known for the vibrant beauty of our environment (miles and miles of trails and sunny sidewalks, incredible mountain views, parks, a lake and then some) but it turns out the people of Daybreak are every bit as vibrant and inspirational as the community itself. Our people are our community and we’re thrilled to showcase just a few of them.
Meet Thad Weiland…aka “The Pilgrim”. Thad’s a real estate broker by profession and Thanksgiving advocate by passion. Here’s our Q&A…
Mr. Pilgrim at Salt Lake City's City Creek
Q.Tell me about The Pilgrim.
A. His full name is Hawthorne Artie Pilgrim and he was born November 1st. He eats turkey, bleeds gravy and enjoys warm meals with good company, long walks on the beach, candlelight, and celebrating holidays—in their proper order.
(For the past four years Thad has donned his Pilgrim costume and “protested” Christmas displays in early November. His message: Thanksgiving needs love too!)
Q. What’s The Pilgrim’s life work?
A. He’s committed to Thanksgiving in its entire splendor. It’s an amazing, unassuming holiday dedicated to gratitude and spending time with others, but it’s sandwiched between two behemoth retail events – Christmas and Halloween. I love those days, but I also like taking a break between them to focus on what I have…on what and who I am grateful for. The Pilgrim helps remind us to do that.
Right now I dress up and go places for laughs, but what if he could help change things? What if we embraced Thanksgiving? Rather than Christmas bonuses, imagine companies giving Thanksgiving bonuses and gathering their employees together for a meal or a celebration to thank them for the year’s harvest.
Q. Is there a specific event that you’d say was a catalyst to your cause? What happened that finally made you say, “I’m taking a stand”?
A. Nothing specific. For years I was just generally bugged with how the Christmas season gets overly marketed and overshadows Thanksgiving. I thought it’d be funny to have a guy dressed in an authentic looking Pilgrim costume that protests premature Christmas celebrations.
To be honest, I never really appreciated Thanksgiving until I did it. Before The Pilgrim Thanksgiving was something to “get through” before we could celebrate Christmas. Now I’m conscious of being grateful for what I’ve got.
Q. Which of Mr. Pilgrim’s appearances has had the most impact?
A. The very first function I went to was Santa’s arrival at City Creek. It was the Friday before Thanksgiving. I felt a little goofy, but I’ll never forget the first child who saw me. We were exiting the elevator and ran into a kid in a stroller. He saw me, gasped, and said to his folks, “a real pilgrim”. It was then that I knew I was onto something.
South Jordan Utah's Mr. Pilgrim
 Q. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
A. Pumpkin pie every time,though the proportion of whipped cream to pie needs to be close to a million to one.
If you’d like to follow along with The Pilgrim’s adventures through November, you can find him at Daybreak, like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/battleforthanksgiving/ or write him at battleforthanksgiving@gmail.com.