Off the roost: Turkey Fest celebration to strut its stuff Saturday


After setting up on the courthouse lawn Friday afternoon, Nellie Quiet Dove Garcia, a Mescalero Apache, demonstrates how American Indians would use coyote skins as camouflage while hunting.

Turkey Fest activities around the courthouse square begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with Prairie Moon providing live music on the bandstand. The event continues until 5 p.m. with family-friendly events.

Nellie Quiet Dove Garcia will provide a living history of the America Indian, with several “lodges” demonstrating arts and crafts for children.

Quiet Dove is a fifth generation Mescalero Apache who works to keep the crafts and culture of her forefathers alive through rendezvous and events with other reenactors.

Many of the Mescalero Apache went to Mexico when the U.S. Government forced other tribes onto reservations. Quiet Dove was born in Minnesota and moved to Texas with her family when she was 10. She now resides in Mineral Wells. She has worked at Frontier Town in Laramie, Wyo., making wool hats and beaded hatbands.

Saturday, Quiet Dove and others will demonstrate blacksmithing, tomahawk throwing, beadwork, story telling, tatting and yarn spinning. Children will have the opportunity to make a dream catcher, medicine bag, jewelry and Indian artifacts.

The 15th Texas Cavalry camp will conduct two civil war reenactments during the day.

Other children’s activities include a petting zoo, pony demonstrations and ride, a four-course bounce house, hands on activities by Home Depot, life-size graphics of Clay County’s historic wildlife including buffalo and black bear.

The National Wild Turkey Federation, Texas Game Wardens Association, Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will provide wildlife exhibits.

Also performing on the bandstand is the Steven Staley Band, a Red Dirt country music group on the rise.

This year the Chamber added an interactive scholarship for graduating seniors enrolled in one of the five Clay County schools. The scholarship tasks the seniors to team up in groups of three to build a contraption that will be pushed, pulled, pedaled or carried through a barrel race during the festival. The participants are judged on their creativity exemplifying the theme of “Turkey Fest” and their time to complete the barrel race. The grand prize is a $500 scholarship per team member.

The Turkey Fest Chili Cookoff returns this year as a part of Saturday’s activities. There are three categories in which to compete: A CASI sanctioned contest, a category for fire departments and category for turkey chili. The Chili Cook-Off will add some flair to the mix with a “Turkey Coop Decor” division that encourages cook-off participants to decorate their cook spaces. The “Turkey Coop Decor” winner will go to the space that best represents the Turkey Fest theme.

Hunters will continue to weigh in turkeys harvested throughout the day, with the Battle of the Beards winners announced on the courthouse bandstand.

>Schedule and Map of Saturday’s Events

> More on Turkey Fest


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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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