YELLVILLE, Ark. – The annual Turkey Trot in Yellville had one major change as it kicked off Friday: no turkey killings.
In the past, independent pilots would throw live turkeys out of planes, and some fell to their deaths.
This year is the first time the Mid-Marion County Rotary Club is sponsoring the festival. They put a stop to the tradition after backlash from activists.
Stan Duffy, the president of the rotary club, said, “Decided that we would not throw turkeys just in the simple fact that we’d like everyone to be happy with Turkey Trot because it is a good thing for our community, and we wanted to show people it’s a good thing for our community.”
But for the people who come out to the Turkey Trot festival every year, they say it’s so much more than just about the live turkeys.
Grace Beaty, who lives in Yellville, said, “Usually we just come because it’s like the big thing around here. There’s not really a lot of stuff to do, and this is what brings you together.”
Austin said, “Probably more just seeing everybody. Spending time with family and friends.”
There are also so many booths to buy crafts and play games, like the ring toss, which helps the Yellville and Summit Fire Departments.
Colby Harris, with the Yellville Fire Rescue, said, “We’re working together to try to bring together to raise the funds. Because we’re all volunteer. We’re not paid, so it allows us to raise a little money to buy equipment and gear that we need.”
Fans even braved the cold and the rain to enjoy everything the festival has to offer.
Mattie Weaver said, “Talk to everybody and socialize pretty much.”
And her friend, Morgan Higgins, said, “I think so and the food’s good too.”
Food like those turkey legs and blooming onions and chicken on sticks.