East Dundee jumping on the Turkey Testicle Festival bandwagon

Same name. Same time. Same day. Same delicacy: Turkey testicles.

Citing a need for a family-oriented fall event, East Dundee leaders announced this week they'll be holding their first Turkey Testicle Festival, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

That's the same name and time frame for a 33-year tradition in not-so-distant Huntley.

J.R. Westberg, whose Parkside Pub has been hosting a Turkey Testicle Festival for 32 years, took the competition in stride.

“Our only thought to this was that there was no originality placed on their event,” he said, noting that Parkside's fest often brings in more than 4,000 attendees.

“We've perfected the execution over the years,” Westberg said. “Thirty-three years of tradition is probably not going away for us.”

But East Dundee downtown businessman Cliff Surges, who is organizing the fledgling event, said the village is not trying to upstage or compete with the Huntley event; there are plenty of turkey testicles to go around.

“Huntley has their market,” he said. “We're looking at a different demographic coming in. There's more than enough to go around for everybody.”

With recent downtown redevelopment, Surges said he wanted to take part in helping East Dundee fill the new shops and restaurants.

“In order to do that, you need to continue to attract fresh people to the area,” he said, adding that he hopes to bring in anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 people.

The festival is still in its beginning stages, Surges said, and he is working in collaboration with the village to finalize the details. But he hopes to involve Elgin Community College's culinary arts program by bringing in students to have a turkey testicle cook-off.

“It's one of those silly things you can have some fun with and do some good with,” he said. “We're trying to provide a genuine, family-oriented, safe environment for people.”

The new festival will offer beverages, live entertainment and food, including turkey testicles, Surges said. The festival will be held outdoors under tents with heaters at the Depot in downtown East Dundee, and proceeds will go toward the nonprofit Dundee Foundation.

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