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updated: 11/21/2012 5:51 PM

Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival draws big crowd

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  • A Parkside Pub employee prepares a bowl of freshly fried turkey testicles.

       A Parkside Pub employee prepares a bowl of freshly fried turkey testicles.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • Kelsey Malmstead of St. Charles, from left, Amy Malmstead of Moline, (back to camera) Sara Haddox and her brother Patrick Haddox both of St. Charles, don turkey hats while enjoying a drink at the Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley. Parkside Pub workers will fried up about 1,200 pounds of testicles this year during the pub's 30th annual festival. The organizers are hoping for 4,500 guests this year, which would beat an attendance record set in 2011.

       Kelsey Malmstead of St. Charles, from left, Amy Malmstead of Moline, (back to camera) Sara Haddox and her brother Patrick Haddox both of St. Charles, don turkey hats while enjoying a drink at the Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley. Parkside Pub workers will fried up about 1,200 pounds of testicles this year during the pub's 30th annual festival. The organizers are hoping for 4,500 guests this year, which would beat an attendance record set in 2011.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • For more than 15 years, the hands of Parkside Pub cook Julio Nieva have handled the preparation and cooking of the turkey testicles. All of it's done according to a secret recipe.

       For more than 15 years, the hands of Parkside Pub cook Julio Nieva have handled the preparation and cooking of the turkey testicles. All of it's done according to a secret recipe.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comA Parkside Pub deep fryer hard at work with just a few of the 1,200 pounds of testicles they are preparing for the annual festival in Huntley.

      BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comA Parkside Pub deep fryer hard at work with just a few of the 1,200 pounds of testicles they are preparing for the annual festival in Huntley.

  • BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comChuck Kagel, of Elgin, throws down another fried testicle during the annual event. Parkside Pub planned to fry up about 1,200 pounds of testicles during their annual Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley. The one-day event, in its 30th annual year, is always held the day before Thanksgiving.

      BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.comChuck Kagel, of Elgin, throws down another fried testicle during the annual event. Parkside Pub planned to fry up about 1,200 pounds of testicles during their annual Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley. The one-day event, in its 30th annual year, is always held the day before Thanksgiving.

 
 

By 2 p.m. Wednesday, 475 people had descended on Huntley to nosh on a turkey part you don't normally see at the dinner table.

The 30th annual Turkey Testicle Festival, held at the Parkside Pub downtown, serves them up following a secret recipe and breading and deep frying them, said Jeff Lovell, one of the pub's owners. The single-day event is always held the day before Thanksgiving.

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Pub workers fried about 1,200 pounds of them, which should be more than enough to go around for the 4,000 people who are expected to attend. There was no way they were going to make more than that, Lovell said.

"It's not a food I want anything left over with," Lovell said.

With the temperatures peaking in the mid-50s Wednesday, Lovell was hoping to break last year's attendance record of 4,400 visitors.

They're not so much a delicacy as a dare food. They have the texture of fried, greasy mushrooms and taste a little bit like them as well. Lovell says they taste a lot better with ranch dressing or Tabasco sauce.

John Greene, a battalion chief for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, likes to give his an extra kick with hot sauce.

"They're not bad, there's just no taste to them," said Greene, who has been attending the festival with fellow firefighters and their wives for 10 years.

First-time festival goers Doug and Betty McMillan of Huntley, preferred to eat theirs plain. Both agreed that it was the wildest thing they'd ever done since touring the Diamond Head Volcano in Hawaii.

"They are better than I thought they'd be," Betty McMillan said.

Doug McMillan said they were OK, but he prefers Rocky Mountain oysters, a fancy name for deep-fried bull testicles.

"Better flavor," he said.

Money raised from the festival will go to support several charities, including the Huntley Jaycees and area youth sports groups.

The festival also included beer and live music. And for those who aren't turkey testicle connoisseurs, there was also pizza, Italian beef and Italian sausage.

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