Turkey Testicle Festival an acquired taste
And yeah, they taste like chicken .... mushy, mushroomy chicken
State Rep. Mike Tryon may have the stomach for politics, but apparently that's where it ends.
The Crystal Lake Republican was at Huntley's Parkside Pub Wednesday afternoon for the annual Turkey Testicle Festival, as he has been each year since 2004 as a way to meet constituents and have fun before celebrating Thanksgiving with his wife and 20 members of his family.
But one sample was enough.
"I had three in 2004 and they were very good and that was enough to last me a lifetime," said Tryon, who has not eaten any since.
Tryon was one of 4,000 people expected to descend on the pub, which was holding the 29th annual, one-day event that also featured music and beer and, for the less stout of heart, pizza, Italian sausage and Italian beef.
Mark Weishaar, who with his business partner Jeff Lovell has owned the pub for three years, said it was important to keep the festival going, because it helped put Huntley on the map and draws visitors from across the country.
"I think it's just a unique festival, it's not like a blues festival," Weishaar said. "People are intrigued. The product that we sell is unique."
This particular part of the turkey is deep fried, breaded and prepared with four secret seasonings in a recipe that has been passed down among the pub's owners. They have a mushy texture and taste like a cross between mushrooms and fried chicken. Or, depending on whom you ask, chicken liver and gizzards.
Jim Dubinski of Rolling Meadows likes his hot and with hot sauce. The first-time festival goer ate the morsels on a dare from his four friends. The verdict?
"I'm amazed. They're really great," Dubinski said. "I'm really surprised at what they taste like."
The event was expected to raise $40,000, which will go to support the Huntley Jaycees, Huntley Youth Football, Huntley Blue Baseball and the Sycamore-based group that provided security at the event.
The pub prepared 1,100 pounds worth and hoped to sell out by 10 p.m. -- two hours before the event closes.
"I do want to run out at the end of the night," Weishaar said. "Because what am I going to do with them?"