The town may not be as stuffed as its namesake, but the community of Turkey, Texas aims to make every Thanksgiving a special day for residents and travelers.
The town was originally called Turkey Roost for the wild turkeys found on the nearby Turkey Creek before being shortened to just Turkey in 1893. The town is mostly known as the home of Bob Wills, who is considered the King of Western Swing.
The community Thanksgiving meal was on Nov. 17 and was somewhat of a Potluck as residents attending helped in some way.
“It’s a good turnout, I would say there was over 100 people,” said Stephanie Hobbs, Turkey city secretary. “The community comes together and puts on a meal for everyone, and it’s pretty heartwarming. I’ve lived here almost three years and this community comes together like no other I’ve experienced.”
Hobbs said the meal is also offered to the residents who aren’t able to leave their homes or for people in need. The unity in the small town with a population of about 400 has made Turkey a special place for Hobbs.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, I love this town,” said Hobbs.
Another Thanksgiving meal taking place is at Hotel Turkey, where owners Pat and Tina Carson host live music every weekend and started the tradition of a town meal that includes Turkey residents and people traveling.
“We think it’s a fun place to have Thanksgiving because we’re Turkey,” said Tina Carson. “So we have a lot of guests that come through, we leave the restaurant open and cook a full Thanksgiving meal and open it to the public.”
Carson said that typically in small towns, restaurants and grocery stores will be closed on Thanksgiving, including the closest grocery store to Turkey, in Quitaque - about 10 miles east on State Highway 86. With a name like Turkey, Carson said the town gets popular around Thanksgiving and they still want to give travelers the holiday experiences.
“A lot of people like having Thanksgiving in Turkey, it’s just fun,” said Carson. “Whether they’re going to the park or visiting family, they still want to have Thanksgiving.”
It’s an experience Carson said they are glad to give and will continue to do it, especially since they have met so many people while hosting the meal.
“We’ve met some of the nicest people doing it,” said Carson. “Of course you meet people in the restaurant business, but having Thanksgiving with people makes it different.”
The hotel was also taking Thanksgiving orders for food pick up. Even though the hotel is open for the holiday, employees are not asked to work and instead help prepare the meals beforehand so it can be a big family meal for everyone, residents or guests passing through.
“We have our family Thanksgiving right along side them,” said Carson. “Even people that live here whose family can’t make it in, they’re not sitting at home just warming something up by themselves. It’s a lot of fun and we really enjoy doing it.”