One of Point Richmond’s oldest traditions, the Annual Turkey Shoot, takes place on Thanksgiving morning, beginning at 10:00 AM at the Plunge and ending behind Starbucks where the traditional Thanksgiving Poem is read with the crowd repeating the last line of each stanza, “This is the Annual Turkey Shoot.” With the poem completed, the crowd exclaims, “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble,” and shots of Wild Turkey are poured for all who wish to imbibe.
Participants in the parade are encouraged to dress in costumes, bring musical instruments, strange pets and act as silly as possible.
How did this begin? Before it is lost in the sands of time, we need to refresh our memory. One Thanksgiving, long ago, employees of the Hotel Mac had been toiling since before dawn preparing Thanksgiving dinner (lunch). Feeling both sympathy and appreciation for the employees’ hard work on what for others was a traditional family day at home, Hotel Mac owners Bill and Griff called a halt to dinner preparation, assembled the staff in front of the restaurant, and invited them to walk the short block to The Spot Bar, where they were all treated to a shot of Wild Turkey.
As the tradition continued over the years, locals showed up to join in the fun – or was it just to get a free shot of bourbon? In any event, the tradition caught on, but at some point – no one knows why – the Hotel Mac ceased participating.
But the locals carried on. The rallying point for the parade moved to the front of the Plunge to provide a longer parade route. Someone, rumored to be Tom McGowan, penned a poem to be read at the conclusion. Various freelance poets began adding a stanza each Thanksgiving.
Then, for reasons unknown or forgotten, parade participants found the iconic Spot Bar closed one Thanksgiving. The disappointed parade struggled past The Spot Bar to the parking lot behind Starbucks where someone produced enough Wild Turkey bourbon to properly celebrate the occasion. The poem, as appended, was read, the “Gobble, Gobble, Gobbles” were recited, and shots of Wild Turkey were consumed. All according to tradition.
That’s the way we begin Thanksgiving Day in Richmond.
When: November 23, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: The Plunge, 1 East Richmond Avenue, Richmond CA 94801
Contact: Point Richmond Live Event website
- Meet up starts at 10am in front of the Plunge on Thanksgiving morning. Bring musical instruments, friendly pets and cash for a shot and a commemorative shot glass if wanted.
- Complimentary sparkling apple cider will be provided for children and folks!
- Parade down Park Place followed by poem reading and shots!
- No turkeys are harmed during this event.
For those who want to do also something more meaningful on Thanksgiving, we recommend:
- Salute e Vita Ristorante: While anticipating a record 1,300 guests at her 6th annual Thanksgiving Day feast on Thursday, Nov. 23, Salute e Vita Ristorante owner Menbere Aklilu is reaching out to the community for volunteers and donations. Click here for details.
- First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond: Thursday, November 23, 12–2 pm: Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Interfaith Service of Thanks, 11:30 am.
- If you’d like to help with food preparation and serving for the dinner, contact Fran Smith at 510-685-2338 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lara Choe (Hotel Mac) will be coordinating the food preparation this year.