Vendors will line Eldon’s downtown streets Sept. 29 for the 33rd annual Eldon Turkey Festival.
The festival, which usually draws 12,000-15,000 people, will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Eldon Chamber of Commerce. Admission is free.
“It’s a day for the community to get out and support our local business people and purchase some of their goods and crafts,” said Whitney Lodge, chamber member and co-chairwoman of this year’s festival.
The chamber booth is known for its collectible ornaments, fried turkey strips and festival staple — $8 smoked turkey legs.
The 5K run/walk, sponsored by the Eldon Parks and Recreation Department, takes off at 7:30 a.m. from the Eldon Airpark. Registration costs $30 and will end at 7:15 a.m.
The Food Truck Village is a new element at the festival. Vendors from around Central Missouri will park in the community center lot and be accompanied by a live band.
“When it’s the fall time of year, people are just excited about being outside and having nice weather,” said Tiffany Walker, co-owner of Eat Crepe Love, a mobile crepe and doughnut vendor. She and co-owner Carla Kessell will bring their apple and pumpkin “fall-flavored, sweet and savory crepes” to the festival.
Other booths will include AmeriCorps, Eldon FFA, West Shore Gems, Old Thyme Funnel Cakes, Hello Belle traveling boutique and more.
A festival favorite — a frozen turkey bowl — will return with a new sponsor, the Eldon Career Center’s SkillsUSA chapter. Bowling with a twist has contestants roll frozen turkeys down hay bale lanes to strike the pins. Participants who hit the pins draw coupons for local businesses.
“It’s just a fun activity and fundraiser that SkillsUSA is taking on this year,” SkillsUSA adviser Erin Rohwer said.
Funds will go toward student activities like leadership conferences and competition entry fees.
The festival also will feature activities for all ages, such as face painting, homemade crafts, a flower show and the 10 a.m. parade. This year’s theme, “Hometown U.S.A.,” complements Eldon’s new slogan, “Your Hometown at the Lake.”