By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Turkey Rama bringing it all back home

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Yahoo!!! Yes, now that's what I'm talking about!! I love Turkey Rama, the carnival, the Turkey Barbecue, except for those dang cars, I'm not a car person. But what the heck, you have to give a little something for everyone, so I'm in. Sweet, thank you so much!!!


Just read this and now my summer has gotten brighter!!! I love that Turkey Rama is going to be back the way it's supposed to be!!! YAY!!!!


It only took four years for the downtown association to pull their heads out of their asses. Either that or they got windows surgically implanted in their stomachs so they can see where they are going! Who's on third? Who cares? Turkey Rama is back.


@NatetheGreat, don't rain on our parade, take a chill pill, be happy bro, quit pecking at the DT Association, they listened, they learned, and now Turkey Rama our favorite Pecker is back, lets do the Macarama!!!

troy prouty

I don't understand why the rides weren't downtown the last few years. It made no sense. In fact planning of this event seemed to lose a lot over the last few years especially after it was actually starting to show promise ! grrr..

Maybe this year it will show it's worthy potential?

PLEASE keep things downtown - that is the heart and soul of the communuty with the "local" theme.

Troy Prouty*


When is Turkey Rama this year?

Also I am sure the the DT Association was taking into consideration the voices of the businesses on 3rd St when prior years they chose to move the carnivall. Turkey Rama can be a major business killer to many of the businesses and that is something that should be taken into consideration when making these choices. Let's not forget who pays fees to the DT Association.

Jeb Bladine

Turkey Rama is not a McMinnville Downtown Association event. It has been sponsored by McMinnville Chamber of Commerce for 50-plus years, long before there was an MDA.

For decades, the downtown merchants were key partners because so much of Third Street was retail trade that benefitted from the large local crowds. Even when the turkey industry failed, Turkey Rama continued as a significant fund-raiser for the Chamber in addition to being the signature annual celebration.

Things changed. Major retailers moved out of downtown, and many small specialty shops no longer had the traditional, positive trade experiences during Turkey Rama. Instead of an annual sell-off of goods by Third Street retailers, the event became something that hurt many of the small businesses that already were struggling from economic conditions. Instead of a long line of local retailers on the street, the Turkey Rama downtown lineup became strongly associated with trinkets, social service and political booths.

It still was a community melting pot event. But some of the elements became divisive, in part because it still was primarily a fund-raiser for the Chamber well after it lost some support among downtown merchants. There are all kinds of related issues, but the point is, the evolution of issues related to Turkey Rams is much more complex than presented by some.

The Chamber and MDA have done a good job getting through those complex issues over the past decade, despite some stumbles along the way. The MDA took on organization of Third Street activities, and shortened that part of Turkey Rama in response to desires of many merchants. The Chamber has worked hard to facilitate changing times while trying to retain traditional, popular elements of Turkey Rama.

Perhaps the Chamber and MDA will find a formula that works better this year. Along the way, we all should show charity in communications to those who have worked so hard to resolve the difficult issues.

FYI: Turkey Rama this year is July 12-13-14-15 (assuming the carnival runs for 4 days).

Jeb Bladine


Jeb, thank you for explaining some of the history to those of us that weren't in the know. I am ecstatic that the carnival has moved closer to downtown. I am unsure about moving the turkey BBQ. Wortman park is such a lovely place for it to be. Since many of the downtown merchants no longer cater to the "common resident", I can understand why they have such a difficult time during the event. It would be nice to see other vendors there again as there was in the past.



I would be very interested in hearing how having 15,000+ people downtown could be a "business killer". If an owner can't figure out how to sell a product or service to that crowd, I don't think they are trying very hard. I remember a Bakery on 3rd street that was always closed and thought what a missed opportunity for them. Even if a downtown business does not want to participate, the event is only 2 days...


Great news, this makes for a fun summer experience with my children. Now if we can just get the fireworks back!

Jean Driscoll

Nice summation, Jeb. Maybe they can BBQ the turkey at the park and have a distribution point in the Granary district. Two parties instead of one. I like that it is all on one walkable area.

Jeb Bladine


In earlier days, Third Street was closed late Wednesday afternoon for setup, and Turkey Rama ran Thursday-Friday-Saturday. So three-plus days of lost business faced many service and small specialty shops that were unable to keep storefronts open and man street booths. Over time, they were closed off by solid lines of booths that featured outside vendors.

For a few years there was a major effort to convert Third Street to higher end arts and crafts, but that didn't work. Local service clubs still sold lots of elephant ears and pronto pups, but more local storefront owners felt isolated from instead of participants in Turkey Rama. That prompted moves to reduce the closure time, leading to the current two-day affair downtown.

Downtown shops have priority for Third Street space on Turkey Rama Friday, and the popular car show fills the street on Saturday. It doesn't have the retail mix that gave those '60s and '70s Turkey Ramas such allure. Back then, hundreds of local kids showed up with berry-and-bean-picking money in hand, ready to buy school clothes and supplies, ride the rides and experience junk food heaven.

Return of the carnival, combined with the new Third Street schedule and perhaps nearby turkey barbecue, just might rejuvenate Turkey Rama downtown. You'll have to let me know � just as has been case most year for decades, our statewide newspaper conference concides with Turkey Rama weekend.



Missed sales for the retailers--, give me a break. Half of them close during the rest of the year at 5 unless it is alcohol related, and the other half are so ridiculously expensive that working folks in MAC can't afford their crap.
Year before last, as last year I saw no vendors, so year before last, a Styrofoam cone with peat moss glued to it in a dollar tree pot was 93.00$$$$ ON SALE.

10% off is not a Turkey Rama sale, cut your markup and see a rise in sales because people are willing to actually look and feel like they walk away with a deal.
The one time of year I actually step in those stores is DURING Turkey Rama.

Still disappointed the vendors will be on Cowls, it's a half of a street, so if that's all they have... really?

Man, I miss the Turkey Rama of years gone by.


Actually, let's not protect the busy-bodies from blame just yet. The DTA are nice people but they are busy-bodies. This probably wouldn't have changed it the Drag The Gut Festival that was conceived and started by local citizens (with original help rejected by the DTA then they wanted to control it when they saw it was popular) without the big wigs coming up with it.

For years many people have been rejected to do car shows, etc. because let's face it... they only want yuppies downtown. When they saw the success of people doing stuff just for fun and that it was successful that woke them up.

Fact is that McMenamin's UFOFest and Drag The Gut Festival became bigger than Turkey Rama and made the DTA look bad. That's why it's back.

It's like a woman feeding her child poison then taking it to the emergency room while the newspaper and others hail her as a hero for reacting in time to save the child's life.

But, I'm glad they got the message and had the good judgment to change it back.

skull crusher

MacMini, I love your enthusiasm! I was not in a very good mood and after reading your posting, I had a smile on my face. You really cheered me up. Thanks :)


Ok get ready to boo me but I liked that they moved the carnival kinda classed up the place a bit HOWEVER as long as the majority are happy thats all that matters :)


Please define "classed up" as you mean it. That is the problem... many in McMinnville downtown don't want "those people" down there. If you're not associated with the wine industry or have an expensive "bistro" or some other trend of the day you're pretty much not welcome to participate in McMinnville life even though you may have lived here a lot longer than the people that are trying to make the rules.


As for "classed up" I meant the hooligans that normally hang out down there moved with the carnival and that was nice. I lived many years with it like it was before so like I said as long as the majority is happy thats all that matters.


Boo angie97128, boo. I hear what you are saying, but not everyone that attends the carnival is a hooligan, (personally I would be more concerned with the carnies, than the crowd).

But for those families that attend TR, it is a hassle to have your kids on one side of Mac while you want to see the other side- not to mention a safety concern, last I heard Mac had it's share of pedi's. So bringing it all back together is a relief for those who don't want their kids too far, and for those who would rather do it all in one shot then driving to one location, doing the run, and then driving to another location to do another run, ESPECIALLY when you are talking hot weather.

I am waiting for the day when 3rd street is covered with vendors selling more then windows and cable. The food court has more to offer than junk food, the stores all have tables set out with welcoming TR sales of more then 10% off of crap that is overpriced to begin with when it is a 50% sale, and it isn't over run with skateboarders and foul mouthed teens who are unsupervised and proving how much disregard they have for themselves and everyone else. I am waiting for the day that TR becomes a fun family event it used to be instead of a source of disappointment. I am waiting to see smiles on those who attend instead of glares and challenges by those you walk by, I am waiting to here an "excuse me" and a "thank you" as one squeezes by, I am waiting for civility to return to McMinnville.
Can TR accomplish all that this year- can McMinnville accomplish all that this year- we shall see.


I'm probably going to be the only one to say this..but I hate when there is any festival downtown because those who have to work at the courthouse on those days are screwed out of parking. Each year the Alien festival comes through..those of us who work at the courthouse are left FIGHTING to find a parking spot to go to work. It'd be nice if they could section off a part of that parking garage for the employees who have to go to work those days. Just saying...


Define "hooligan".

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