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updated: 11/24/2010 10:27 PM

Turkey Testicle Festival draws crowd to Huntley

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  • Megan Chamberlain finds an opening in the crowd as she moves product during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival at Parkside Pub Wednesday.

       Megan Chamberlain finds an opening in the crowd as she moves product during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival at Parkside Pub Wednesday.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Turkey testicles are prepared at Parkside Pub Wednesday during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival.

       Turkey testicles are prepared at Parkside Pub Wednesday during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sara Reed of Traverse City, MI tries and then spits out a turkey testicle after being urged to try one by her dad, Jess Reed, during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival at Parkside Pub Wednesday. Jess Reed said he's been to the festivities every year they've been held. They're in town visiting family in Algonquin for Thanksgiving.

       Sara Reed of Traverse City, MI tries and then spits out a turkey testicle after being urged to try one by her dad, Jess Reed, during the Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival at Parkside Pub Wednesday. Jess Reed said he's been to the festivities every year they've been held. They're in town visiting family in Algonquin for Thanksgiving.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 

How do you make a beige-colored, kidney bean-shaped, thumb-sized part of a turkey with a spongy consistency that's not going to make it to many Thanksgiving dinner tables look so appetizing that 1,000 pounds are consumed in one afternoon?

You dredge it in a flour batter and deep fry it. Serving it with beer helps, too.

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"You can't mess anything up that's deep-fried," said Patricia Theodore, 32, of Crystal Lake. "If anything is deep fried, people are going to eat it."

That includes turkey testicles.

About 4,000 were expected to attend the 28th annual Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival Wednesday at the Parkside Pub in downtown Huntley.

Joe Eshoo, of Mundelein, a self-professed adventurous eater who has sampled delicacies including escargot, frogs legs and beef tartar, said the turkey testicle took some willpower to eat.

"It's more of a mind game than anything," said Eshoo, who was attending the festival for the first time. "I think I'll wait until next Thanksgiving to eat them again."

The turkey testicles, which were shipped from a farm in Michigan, are chopped up, breaded, deep fried and served in a Styrofoam cup. Tabasco sauce is available to add a kick. Each serving is about 15 pieces.

Theodore said she ventured into the deep-fried unknown with caution, not knowing what to expect when she chomped down.

"I approached it with caution because I thought something might squirt out," Theodore said. "I didn't know what to, if I should nibble it. I just took a bite. The outside was crunchy but it was spongy on the inside. It was like an uncooked chicken nugget."

This was the second year that the Parkside Pub's new owners, Mark Weishaar and Jeff Lovell, have hosted the event, which is traditionally held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Weishaar and Lovell decided to keep the festivities going when they bought the pub in January 2009. The festival has grown from a small gathering at the pub to the spectacle that draws close to 4,000 people today. Live music and beer go hand-in-hand.

Proceeds from the event will benefit local organizations including the Huntley Jaycees, Huntley Youth Football Club, the Red Raiders Wresting Club and the Sycamore Odd Fellows.

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