Thanksgiving Day Football in Pennsylvania:
Slatington v. Palmerton (1935-1974)

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From 1935 to 1974, the Slatington and Palmerton high school football teams played on Thanksgiving Day (with one exception because of weather). These games were part of the continuing sports rivalry between the two towns that spanned most of the twentieth century.

While the two high schools, now known today as Northern Lehigh High School and Palmerton Area High School, still play an annual football game, usually the last game of the regular season, the Thanksgiving Day rivalry ended in 1974 after forty years of games. The final record was 24 wins for Palmerton, 14 wins for Slatington and 2 ties.

Here I explore that Thanksgiving football rivalry.

The two towns, Slatington and Palmerton

The tradition of Thanksgiving Day football in the Lehigh Valley

Early football played in Slatington

The football fields

Slatington v Palmerton since 1974

THE GAMES
1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974

Some suggested reading

Evan Burian, Sports Legends of the Lehigh Valley (1998)
Evan Burian, Ancient Rivals and Thanksgiving Football in the Lehigh Valley (2004)
Kevin Gorman, Tales from Pennsylvania High School Football (2008)
Dave Leone, The Rivalry: A Profile in Tradition, Phillipsburg, NJ vs Easton, PA (2016)