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Our Neighbors: Gobble! Gobble! Point Richmond's Wild Turkey Tradition Returns

Sorry I am going to miss the Turkey Shoot this year. If you go, drop by afterwards to the Point Richmond First United Methodist church for a free turkey dinner and fellowship. All are welcome!

Our Neighbors: Gobble! Gobble! Point Richmond's Wild Turkey tradition returns

By Chris Treadway
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 11/24/2009 05:05:20 PM PST

Updated: 11/24/2009 05:05:20 PM PST


Macy's doesn't have a monopoly on Thanksgiving Day parades and festivities. The Wild Turkey Shoot is Point Richmond's whimsical, homegrown way to kick off the holiday.

In contrast to the televised department store promotion in New York City, the Turkey Shoot is an informal procession of humans, vintage vehicles, pets and whoever or whatever else joins the assembly, which begins gathering at 10 a.m. in front of the Richmond Plunge at East Richmond Avenue and Garrard Boulevard.

"This is very much the essence of Point Richmond," said Margaret Morkowski of the Point Richmond Business Association. The tradition started in the 1970s.

Once assembled, the celebrants make their way through the old downtown to The Spot, a neighborhood tavern where shots of Wild Turkey or less intoxicating libations are poured.

The festivities reach their high point with the reading of the Wild Turkey Shoot poem, a work that grows by one verse each year. This year's stanza was prepared by longtime gallery owner Joyce DeWitt, and the poem will be read by Monroe Benschop.

Each stanza of the poem concludes with "It's the Wild Turkey Shoot," said by the crowd somewhat in unison.

At the reading's conclusion, the celebrants yell "Gobble, gobble, gobble!" and down their drinks in a group toast.

Goats have been a fixture at past Turkey Shoots, courtesy of City Councilman Tom Butt, who traditionally brings one or two from his yard, where a small herd grazes to manage brush growth. Neither Butt nor his goats will be at this year's event, however.

"I hate to miss it," said Butt, who will be out of town at an extended family Thanksgiving gathering while the goats will remain at the Butt homestead. "I offered a lot of people the opportunity to bring my goats, but nobody's taken me up on it."

If you want to take part in one of the Point's most cherished traditions, simply show up at the Plunge on Thursday morning.

MORE HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES: Point Richmond continues the holiday mood Saturday when the business association celebrates the annual tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. The choir from Point Richmond Methodist Church will lead caroling, and there will be refreshments to enjoy while awaiting the lighting and the arrival of Santa Claus at the Indian Statue Rose Garden in the heart of the downtown.