By Anna Lieberman • Intern • 

The show goes on

Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Emily Ramirez and her brother Alex wave to their parents as they fly by on a children s Turkey Rama Carnival ride.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Emily Ramirez and her brother Alex wave to their parents as they fly by on a children's Turkey Rama Carnival ride.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Nacho the dog watches patiently as his owner enjoys  a Turkey Rama carnival ride.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Nacho the dog watches patiently as his owner enjoys a Turkey Rama carnival ride.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Kyann Boyce and Britney Billarreal scream with excitement as they enjoy a upside down ride at the Turkey Rama Carnival.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Kyann Boyce and Britney Billarreal scream with excitement as they enjoy a upside down ride at the Turkey Rama Carnival.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Friends Jackie Dornon and Ralph Dowdle enjoys a dance to the music of the band Layman s Terms at Turkey Rama.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Friends Jackie Dornon and Ralph Dowdle enjoys a dance to the music of the band Layman's Terms at Turkey Rama.

For the first time in McMinnville history, Mayor Scott Hill pardoned a live turkey, “Mr. Dave Turkey,” specifically. He introduced the bird to a small crowd of festival-goers at this year’s Turkey Rama — a community gathering that celebrates the area’s past turkey abundance in the mid-1900s.

Dozens of food and business vendors filled Third Street last weekend as crowds listened to live music or played carnival games across the street.

“It’s got a great feel,” Hill said. “I’ve enjoyed this more than any Turkey Rama I’ve been to. It has a much more local and interactive feel.”

He joked the turkey should return every year so he can re-pardon it.

Although many enjoyed themselves, some missed decades-old traditions absent at this year’s event. One was the selling of BBQ turkey halves.

“Without turkeys, it’s kind of just a carnival,” said Kaylee Johnson, marketing director at The Oak. “Even though we don’t produce turkeys like we did in the past, it’s still our history.”

According to coordinators from the Chamber of Commerce, it can require at least 100 volunteers to execute the turkey BBQ. Costs can also be up to $22,000. If not enough people show interest, production on that scale can be challenging.

Johnson wanted to incorporate turkey into the event, so she proposed The Oak prepare turkey legs this year. The barbecue was set up next to the community stage and beer garden adjacent to the U.S. Bank plaza.

“To bring some of the roots back to McMinnville,” she said. “A lot of people have been so happy and so relieved to see turkey on Third Street.”

Furthermore, several downtown restaurants featured turkey specials on their menus.

But to some people, the presence was still minimal.

“I grew up in Oklahoma. We have a strawberry festival and of course we have strawberries,” said community member Billy Bowen. “Coming here at Turkey Rama and there’s no turkey... for some reason that’s weird to me.”

He said he wished there were more turkey-centered events, like a themed parade or people walking around in turkey costumes.

Others, however, didn’t pay much attention to the absence of turkey.

“I’m more about the elephant ears, the food and the hanging out,” said Yvette Craig, just before her six-year old daughter, Hannah, danced on stage.

Craig emphasized the celebration now is more about community coming together and having a good time than anything else.

Also missing from this year’s edition was the Biggest Turkey Lip-Sync contest. There were additions, however, including a Sunday car show where impressive vehicles lined Third Street.

While organizing the festival, event coordinator Rhonda Pope kept that in mind.

“We placed everything strategically this year,” she said. “We wanted to bring community a little more.”

While booths are usually lined up against each side of the sidewalk, this year organizers placed some in the middle of the street, with ample space between clusters of vendors.

Pope said this layout offers more exposure to the booths while increasing the flow of commerce.

Many booths from local businesses offered prizes, games, demonstrations and kids’ activities to engage the crowds. 

“Our mayor has said four times that this is exactly what it should be,” she said. “It’s exactly what it used to be. The sense of community is back.”

She still acknowledged what was missing.

“You never know,” she said. “Maybe next year there will be turkey halves. They’re in high demand.”

Comments

bonnybedlam

Maybe there could be a turkey costume contest next year. I'd go see that.

Don Dix

If some think this years' edition of Turkey Rama was 'exactly what it used to be', they don't know 'used to be'.

Besides no turkey halves and lip sinc contest (which 'used to be' quite entertaining), let's not forget this event 'used to' start on Thursday. The booths downtown 'used to be' mostly small local merchants mingled with the typical carnival games and sales.

But no one mentions the former culmination to TR every year -- the Annual Fireman's Dance. Not only a great way to spend Sat. eve of TR, but also a nice boost to the department's ability to purchase needed extra equipment. Two way loss there.

I don't know where those commenting on TR this year were in 1961, or even 1995, but they certainly weren't here.

tagup

I'm so old that I remember the Fireman's dance at the armory (before it became the community center)....quite a party back then....

Mac Native 66

Hey, don't forget the turkey trot. It's better to have the booths set up in the park strip and NOT down the middle. The fire chief should of said no to blocking the middle of the street. No turkey half is like setting up the rides out at Lowes. A dumb thing to do.
And for the Fireman's Dance, that truly needs to be brought back. If not for the McMinnville department, maybe to help out some of our smaller departments in the county.

Don Dix

tagup -- when the dance was at the armory, it was called the Blossom Dance, and held in May.

tagup

Don--I stand corrected...good call....

Lulu

I thought the Fireman's Dance was held at the original Elks Campground on Baker Creek Road, past where the Mormon church is now.

Don Dix

Lulu -- The Mormon Church is just west of the old Elks Park. The fire dept. also hosted the Blossom Dance. It became the Fireman's Dance back in the late 70s or early 80s and moved to Baker Cr. Rd. the Sat. of TR. 3000 - 5000 party animals -- doesn't get much better!

JustmyView

Sure miss that dance and being able to visit will ol friends and make new friends. We stopped attending the TR several years ago. We loved attending then it just didn't seem the same. We kept hoping the next year would be better but after several years and seeing the change for the worst not better we stopped attending altogether. This year was our 2nd year we did not attempt to go. Very sad.

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