BOTKINS — The Rhine Turkey Shoot and Family Festival is set for Sunday, Sept. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 45th annual festival will be held on the grounds of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, located three miles east of Botkins on Botkins Road (exit 104 off Interstate 75).
The highlight of the festival is shooting at standing targets with 12-gauge shotguns. The winner of each round of 10 shooters receives a whole turkey as a prize. According to Gregg Gooding, past festival chairman, this unique festival has been popular with gun club members for many years.
“About 15-20 years ago, we were giving away 50 to 100 turkeys in a day,” said Gooding. “There are not as many shooters today, but we still have a great turnout and each winner goes home with a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.”
The festival will have food for every tastebud, including turkey sandwiches, brats, soups and pies. The soups include mock turtle and turkey noodle and can be purchased by the container to take home as well as by the bowl. “Unlike many festivals, our food prices are very reasonable,” said Elaine Staten, first time chairman of this year’s event. “We are able to keep prices low because all the food is homemade.” New foods being introduced this year are pizza and ice cream.
A special visitor at the festival will be Bear Claw Jeb, who will share stories and his collection of tomahawks, prehistoric axes, and other Native American artifacts. Bear Claw Jeb is portrayed by Jeff Hunlock, a local historian who has been collecting artifacts since he was five years old. He travels around the country doing presentations as Bear Claw Jeb and other historic characters including Wyatt Earp and John Dillinger.
There will be adult games, including cake raffle and craft wheels. The children’s tent includes games and activities along with a BB shoot contest for the younger set. Festival attendees will be invited to guess the weight of a live turkey as well as bid on silent auction items. Throughout the day, there will be raffle drawings for turkeys and cash. There will be 79 cash prizes, including attendance prizes and a grand prize of $1,000.
“It should be a fun day and it is a great fundraiser for the church,” said Staten. “Our new assistant priest, Father Sean Wilson, is supposed to be showing off his talent as a juggler so that should draw quite a crowd.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.