Deep-fried turkey parts star at Huntley festival today
It's turkey time today at Huntley Parkside Pub, where new owners Jeff Lovell and Mark Weishaar are hosting that revered local tradition known as the 27th annual Turkey Testicle Festival.
Each year on the day before Thanksgiving, thousands of visitors have flocked to Huntley to try those tantalizing turkey tidbits, listen to live music, and have a great time. This year's fest will be much the same but with more bands, says Weishaar.
"We're expecting around 4,000 (people), and then some," he said.
Doors open at 11 a.m. with live music from 11:30 a.m. until midnight. You must be 21 years or older, and ID is required. A $10 admission fee supports local charities who help to staff the event - Huntley Jaycees, Huntley Youth Football, and Red Raiders Wrestling. And yes (in case you're wondering) it's the parents, not the students, who are volunteering.
The festival will be held outside the pub on the corner of Woodstock and Main Streets, under a large heated tent with plenty of portable potties nearby. The bar and beer garden are open, Weishaar says, but indoor seating is limited due to occupancy rules.
Holiday shoppers can also purchase souvenir hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and lounge pants to commemorate this very special occasion.
And, of course, there's the main attraction - the "delicacy du jour" - that draws people back again and again. This year, over 1,100 pounds will be served up by the cup, hot and crispy, to eager fans.
It sounds like a nutty idea, Weishaar admits, but the beer-battered, deep-fried turkey parts really do taste pretty good - a little like deep-fried chicken livers or maybe fried mushrooms.
"It's not a bad taste at all, if you can get (the idea) out of your mind," he says. "I've had them with a couple of cocktails and I've had them sober. You want to stay away from the large ones, they tend to pop in your mouth."
For the squeamish, there'll be hot beef or sausage sandwiches and other food options as well. And there's live music with six top local bands playing throughout the day. This year's lineup includes Traveling Cowboys (11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.), Dead Cat Bounce (1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.), Hey Jimmy
4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.), Modern Day Romeos (7 - 9 p.m.), and Libido Funk Circus (9:30 p.m.- midnight).
"We want everyone to have a good time and get home safely," Weishaar says. Shuttle buses will run with stops every half-hour on two circuits along regular school bus routes north and south of Route 47. Route 47 Taxi is offering discounted rates for partygoers, and All-Star Towing will provide free tow-and-ride service within a 10-mile radius of Huntley.
Free shuttle buses run every half-hour from 2 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. along local school bus routes. Downtown parking is available for a $5 at three lots run by local charities. The Huntley Lions Club will manage the Dean Foods lot near Route 47 and Main, and the old Catty factory lot at Mill and Church streets. First Congregational Church volunteers will run parking at the vacant lot east of the church on Main Street.
For details about the bands, bus routes, and directions to the Pub and parking lots, visit www.huntleyturkeytesticlefestival.com.
Food pantry needs your help: The holidays mean "help wanted" at the Grafton Food Pantry, where a $20 donation can provide Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for a needy family. Gift cards are especially welcome, so people can shop on their own for what they need.
Nonperishable supplies are also needed: canned meats or fish, breakfast foods, cake mixes, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti or taco sauce, baby food, popcorn, condiments, paper goods, diapers, cleaning supplies, and personal grooming items.
The food pantry is open from 1-4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at its new location at 11291B Smith Drive, in the light industrial area off Kreutzer Road. Volunteers are needed, and heavy lifting is not required.
Drop off boxes are also available at the Huntley Park District; Harris Bank Huntley, Huntley Area Public Library, the Village of Lakewood Village Hall, and Wisted's Market. The Grafton Food Pantry is a 5013C, nonprofit corporation. For more information or to conduct a food drive, call (847) 495-0922 or e-mail to email@example.com and leave a message for Harriet Ford.
Send your Huntley area news and events to Diane Ayers at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (847) 669-0848.