Do you have a small town festival you love? It’s the eve of my favorite.
This weekend, always the third weekend of June, is one of my favorite weekends of the year in one of my favorite small towns. What happens?
The North Dakota small town, Aneta, population 250 approximately if you could the nursing home residents, hosts the World’s Largest Turkey Barbeque. This is my town. These are my people, for the past five generations. And I am really proud of this event. But here is an inside look into it.
Local volunteers serve open-pit roasted turkey with all the fixings.
Pinto beans, potato salad, pickles, buns and butter with an ice cream bar for dessert. Aneta, in Nelson County, once was a leader in turkey farming in North Dakota. Times have changed. I don’t know any turkey farmers around Aneta anymore but the tradition lives on because of dedicated community volunteers. There are potatoes grown not far from Aneta and my family raises pinto beans, wheat and more in fields just outside of Aneta.
Volunteers, like my 89 year-old Grandpa Oscar Huso have been a part of this event since the late 1950’s and only in 1971 was it raining so hard that they served turkey inside the school.
The Aneta Turkey BBQ happens because of faithful commitment from a small town and its people.
My grandpa has made sure he has passed down his turkey roasting legacy and passion to a next generation. Early Saturday and throughout the day our family will be by his side helping turn the coals and check the turkeys. My brother, Robbie and our son Hunter are driving 700 miles today to be back from a basketball camp in time to help Grandpa in the morning.
When the turkeys are ready to be served, which around 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 21 in the Aneta City Park, volunteers like my dad, Farmer Fred of GriggsDakota will be there, cutting the perfectly tasty and roasted meat and full meal.
The serving continues until 7:30 pm or as my grandpa says, “until the turkeys are gone.”
You can walk through the turkey carving line to meet young farmers like my cousin Scott.
And after your turkey feast is complete, I have a small town secret to let you in on that the locals know but you may not.
My Grandma Nola’s perfect pies along with other Lutheran ladies like my mama’s famous pies and bars are served in the Aneta Auditorium basement on Main Street. My sister and I will be serving pie at 8:30 pm Saturday night so come and find us!
You might even see Miss A or Miss E sneaking some desserts.
Come line up this Saturday in Aneta, North Dakota, in east-central North Dakota and join in on one of my favorite small-town fun weekends. It is worth the road trip. Tickets are sold on site for $10 for adults and less for kids.
Come early in Saturday morning for a pancake breakfast at Sundahl Lutheran Church, where generations of my family have attended. It’s a sacred place to me. Visit the amazing Aneta Community Garden and Orchard, where local volunteers and families are growing fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. I want every community have share a garden like Aneta does.
Stay for the old-time tractor pull and then the local parade in the afternoon, where Miss E and Miss A will be riding their Jeep and pink tractor alongside their baby cousins in a wagon. Then there are inflatable games in the park, a craft fair and a street dance.
It’s small town fun at its finest and plenty of turkey to share!
What’s your favorite small-town festival and why?
Connect with the Aneta Turkey BBQ Facebook page for any details and hope to see many faces this weekend on my favorite place to be on the third weekend of June!
Oh my goodness.. I love the Turkey BBQ. And you captured it so perfectly. Great food and great people – the best parts of small towns! How awesome that you and your family are such a big part of it!
Thank you so much for sharing about this. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and just wanted to tell you how much I love the way you write about North Dakota living!
Ron Waite says
The North Dakota small town, Aneta, population 250 approximately if you (could) the nursing home residents, hosts the World’s Largest Turkey Barbeque. This is my town. (Change could to count)