DANVILLE — “Can you talk like a turkey,” Master of Ceremonies Keith Miller asked contestants of the Little Miss and Mr. Turkey Contest.
“Gobble, gobble,” said 7-year-old Brianna Small.
Thursday evening was the start of this year’s Danville-Howard Turkey Festival, an annual gathering of summer excitement with food, rides, crafts, games and live entertainment each night.
Ten boys and girls participated in the contest, all eager to share their joy of everything turkey.
Second-grader, Samantha Addair of Danville showed her poster of a mother turkey with her eggs. When Miller asked if she could walk like a turkey, Addair said, “No,” but she did a “gobble, gobble” when asked to talk like one.
Miller also asked contestants about their siblings and pets, and if they liked eating turkey.
Winning this year’s contest was Aubrey Colopy, Little Miss Turkey; Alenah Boeshart, first runner-up; and Brianna Small, second runner-up. Little Mr. Turkey for 2010 is Darren Mickley; Matthew Shepherd, first runner-up; and Tristen Goudy, second runner-up.
When asked how she felt about winning, Colopy replied, “Excited.” Last year, Colopy’s older sister participated in the contest and when this year came around she signed up. “I was a little nervous,” she said, about participating this year but she was enthusiastic about her poster of a giant wild turkey and its three little babies.
Mickley was just as happy to have won. When asked if he enjoyed himself, Mickley replied, “Yeah, I had lots of fun making the poster.” Mickley named the picture of his turkey as Mr. Gobbles.
The festival is a good time to enjoy the thrill of carnival rides, the pleasure of one’s favorite food, and merrymaking among best friends.
“It was scary,” said Dylan James as he walked from riding the Loop Plane. “It felt like I was going to fall out when the thing flipped upside down. I liked when it went around in circles.”
Dylan came with his brother, Noah, his father, and a group of friends.
“When it went over and around, I liked that,” said Noah, who also had a good time on the ride. “The girl in the seat behind me were just screaming,” he said with a laugh.
For just a few tickets children could ride the rides. For a couple of dollars, visitors could try their skills at a choice of games.
Alexia Pack of Howard, came with a group of her friends.
“We’re just hanging out, having fun. I like coming here,” she said. Pack tried her skills at a shooting game picking up the toy gun and aiming high for a cup situated against the wall. When she pulled the trigger and hit her mark, Pack won a little butterfly from her attempts.
Of course the festival would not be complete without the taste of carnival food: fires, burgers, popcorn, pizza, sugar waffles, cotton candy, and more.
“We love the food and the fries. We should have gotten the bucket of fries. We only got a small one and that was gone in minutes,” said Pack.
“The fries are really good,” Brooklyn Owens of Bladensburg agreed. “I like coming here each year. The people are really nice and it’s just a good time for a small town.”
One popular carnival food that had the visitors waiting in line was the deep-fried Oreos.
“You have to try the deep-fried Oreos,” said Jamie Holland of Danville. “They are really good.”
“They are very good,” said Daniel Hinkens of Howard.
Hinkens’ wife, Alissa agreed, “I know Oreos being fried sounds really weird but they are really good.”
“We’ve been coming here since we were both little, we grew up in this area,” said Alissa. “We enjoy coming.”
Among the fanfare, visitors could browse the many craft tables and vendor booths.
“This is my first time here,” said Pat Fields of Mohawk. Fields’ owner of “Pat’s Place’” makes homemade kitchen and bath towels, pillows, jewelry, blankets, purses as well as Cornhole sacks.
“I’ve been doing this for about six years. My sister got me started and I always liked to sew. For a wedding gift someone gave me an apron towel, I lost it and never could find another like it. So I started making it myself,” she said.
The festival is an opportunity for vendors to show off their unique items. Nona Mitchell, owner of Nona Treasures, sold tiaras, body jewelry, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and more. But a popular product of her booth is Pandora, a new style of charm bracelet that uses colorful beads instead of dangling charms.
“I’m actually down to two, we’ve sold a lot of them today,” said Mitchell. Customers are welcome to make their own color trend with the beads and choose from a bangle, chain link, or a twist lock as the bracelet.
The turkey festival will continue today and Saturday at Danville’s Memorial Park with live entertainment, food, rides, a parade and more.