DANVILLE — It’s turkey time again as the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District Association launched its 21st annual Danville-Howard Turkey Festival Thursday night. The three-day festival, held at Danville Memorial Park, started the celebration with a variety of events, games, concessions and vendors.
The Little Mr. & Miss Turkey contest drew a large crowd as family and friends watched as contestants were asked questions by master of ceremonies, Lynn Shoemaker.
“If you had a pet turkey, what would you name it,” she asked contestants. “How long would it take to cook a turkey?” And many other questions were asked of the young contestants, who each answered in their own way. Also as a part of the contest, each contestant spoke about their home-made posters.
The event concluded with Cameron Bemiller named Little Mr. Turkey with runner-up Nathan Sheldon. Molly Gebhardt was named Little Miss Turkey with first runner-up Brittany Holt and second runner-up Vivian Hawk.
Lip Sync was another highlight of the evening with five groups performing on stage. Spectators cheered and applauded as participants sang and danced to their favorite songs.
“We have a blast,” said Barb Blubaugh, whose 4-H group, Mixed Blessings, coordinates the event each year. This year there was more participation than last year but each year is different. “One year we had 10 groups so it just depends,” she said.
For the 8 to 9 age group: Rachel Naber, Taylor Duncan, Kyla Brayshaw and Lydia Addair won first place for their rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Fly on the Wall”; Miranda Rocko and Makenzy Groom won second place for their dance performance to “Upside Down” by A-Teens; and Abby Marshall won third place for her performance of “To the Left” [Irreplaceable],” by Beyonce.
For the 11 to 12 age group: Sarah Stumpf won first place for her performance of “Our Song” by Taylor Swift; and Marissa Rocko, Alysha Howard and Becca Vales won second place for their take of “Ho Down, Throw Down” by Miley Cyrus.
With bingo, corn hole toss, football toss, and activities for the children with moon bounce, slide, and obstacle course the evening was filled with fun activities for the whole family. The festival has a variety of concession stands filled with corn dogs, pizza, sugar waffles, French fries, snow cones and more. The local fire district also held smoke house demonstrations for visitors.
Local vendors also participated in the festival’s activities.
Home decorations, home baked dog treats, primitive stitching art, China painting jewelry and ornaments, and corn hole bags were all homemade items of the Fox family. Lois has been doing China painting for a few years now and greatly enjoys painting the art pieces. She and her friend, Ginny Bennent, will be having a China painting demonstration on Friday during the festival at 7 p.m.
“Everything is handmade,” said Lois Fox, whose family hosted a booth in the vendor’s tent. “I like to come and see all of the people here. You don’t get to see them all the time even though we live in a small community,” she said.
Some other events taking place this weekend at the Turkey Festival include a turkey dinner Friday at St. Luke’s Center at 5 p.m., volleyball tournament at 5 p.m., K-9 Demonstration at 7:30 p.m., sub eating contest at 8 p.m. and karaoke at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the day is filled from morning until late in the evening from 8 a.m. begins the 5K Run/Walk event, Sawdust Scramble at 2 p.m., parade at 7 p.m., and auction at 8 p.m.
“I think everyone looks forward to the small town festival, seeing friends, eating fair food together and hanging out,” said Kim Hawk, co-coordinator. “We would like to welcome everyone out to the 21st annual Danville-Howard Turkey Festival and there is fun for all ages.”