Sunday, June 21, 2009

The 49th Annual Turkey Barbeque

The third Saturday in June is our summer festival, The Turkey Barbecue. The town bustles with activity. There are class reunions, music, family reunions, a craft show and more.  Everyone who has ever moved away from the area feels a tug to come back for a visit during this weekend. For those of us who live here, it is a labor of love.

Above: Once the turkeys have been seasoned and put onto the skewers at the fire hall, they are loaded onto a flatbed trailer to be taken to the park. Over 350 turkeys are used.

Above: The turkeys arrive in the park by 8:45 a.m. The cement blocks were set up earlier in the week and everything is ready for the birds.

Above: The park is a square block next to the highway that runs through town. Cheryl plants a ribbon of flowers along the berm of the highway edging the park. Our cold spring has frustrated her plans for a lush flower display this year, but the neat rows of blooms are beautiful!

Above: Grandpa and Robbie are two of the men in charge of cooking the turkeys. They keep their meat thermometers in their pockets and check the temperature of the turkeys often. Cooking conditions such as ground moisture, air temperature, and wind vary from year to year. They are careful to cook the turkeys to temperature and not rely on time or appearance.

Above: The charcoal is lit and left to burn down for a few minutes before the turkeys go on the spit.

Above: Local people diligently apply for funds to improve the park and were able to install this new equipment last fall. Robbie tried it out while waiting for the turkeys to arrive. Hundreds of kids gave it their approval throughout the day.

Above: The beans are also started in the morning. The pickup in the background is holding buckets of prepared baked beans that are heated in electric roasters.

Above: The coffee maker was engineered and constructed a by a local farmer. It is made from a hot water heater and brand new toilet parts.

Above: The electric motors to turn the turkeys on the spit are also unique to our operation. They are able to turn the heavy rods of turkey slowly for hours. We love our resourceful and talented farmers!

Above: We set up lots of fancy benches to accommodate our crowd. People face one another in groups as they eat or turn to watch performances in our park's gazebo.

Above: We set up all of our picnic tables and many people bring their own tables and chairs.

Above: Joe and I helped carry the turkeys from the trailer to the spit as they are put on the fire.

Above: Rob tends half the turkeys from start to finish. His long legs are an advantage while raking the coals from above. He uses a regular garden rake to move the hot coals. Notice the turkeys are golden. It's 3:00 p.m. These turkeys are about an hour away from being done. We have a large crowd assembled for the fun.

Above: At three o'clock the parade begins. There are nice prizes for the kids who participate and free dinner tickets for some of the adult winners. I love the old tractors. They have distinctive sounds and happy drivers.

Above: Happy and hungry in the afternoon!

Above: We have art in our park! The metal turkey in the movie above was the winter project of a farmer a few years ago. It gobbles when you walk by! Our local practical joke has startled many folks passing through who stop at the park to admire the bird.

Above: 3:20 p.m.: The first turkeys are taken off the spit.

Above: Joe worked a shift taking turkeys off the fire and running them to carving stations. Anytime he hears a carver shout "turkey" he brings a fresh bird.

Above: Grandpa works the first shift as a carver. He has been doing this since the barbeque began 49 years ago. We prefer electric knives for ease and safety and workers wear new cotton gloves to keep their hands from burning.

Above: Jim takes over for Grandpa as one in the second shift of carvers. Notice the hand of a hungry guest using tongs to fill his plate!

Above: A poster hanging on the ice cream truck shows some turkey barbecue stats. The numbers are low as modesty is a trait of people here. This year we served over 2,400 people.

Above: The celebration ends the next morning with an All-Faith Church Service in the park. This is the family reunion day in the area with many family potlucks. Monday night we gather one last time to take it all down and put it away for 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I'm homesick! We cannot miss the 50th annual turkey bbq next year. Love the pics. You captured it all Kirsti!