The annual tradition continues to grow, with this year’s crowd topping 5,000 in Huntley and Union.
Huntley’s Parkside Pub, 11721 E. Main St., was filled with more than 5,000 people for its annual all-day Turkey Testicle Festival last Wednesday.
Parkside owner Mark McDonald has held the festival for 19 years and has raised money to donate to charities. Admission fees for this year’s event were donated to The Jaycees, the Lions Club and the Odd Fellows. McDonald said there were about 200 people who helped work at the event. He said people came from all different areas for the festival, including places like California and Canada.
“When I first started doing the event, we had maybe 200 or 300 people,” he said. “Now we’re up to about 5,000 people. We used to go through 80 pounds of (turkey testicles), and now we’re going through about 1,200 pounds.”
In addition to turkey testicles, music by bands, turkey testicle apparel, food and beer were available at the event.
Friends Crystal Landers, a Schaumburg resident, and Bill Bulman, a Chicago resident, said they have been going to the festival for about 10 years.
“It’s become a tradition for friends from high school,” Bulman said. “We started going when we turned 21, and every year (we) come back.”
Bulman said he reunites at the festival with friends from his Crystal Lake South High School Class of 1993.
Landers said she used to eat the turkey testicles, but does not anymore since she is mainly a vegetarian. She said they taste like greasy chicken, but are “actually pretty decent.”
Huntley residents Jaclyn Doetsch and Nikki Rappin said it was their first time going to the festival with friends since turning 21. They said they ate the turkey testicles.
“We both thought they were really good, actually,” Doetsch said. “It tastes like a turkey leg, and they fry them, so it tastes fine.”
Rappin said the festival was fun.
“My dad always used to bring home turkey testicles, and I couldn’t go because I wasn’t 21,” she said. “I enjoyed the festival a lot.”
Huntley resident Kelly Wasilewski and McDonald both said the festival is a nice gathering place for friends and family.
“Everyone’s home for Thanksgiving, and it’s a great way to start the holidays,” McDonald said. “It just keeps getting better and better each year.”