In 1912, the owner’s son of a general store in Collinsville started the Turkey Trot as a promotional event for the store to draw people into town to help the store. Over a century later, that tradition has since been passed on to the Collinsville Historical Association.
The event is now held on Main Street in Collinsville from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and the police will have the road blocked from the railroad tracks to the red light.
Martha Barksdale, with the Collinsville Historical Association, is assisting with planning the event and has been for the last few years, she said.
The event will kick off with a 5K fundraiser for Collinsville Library. Registration is at 7 a.m. with the race starting at 8 a.m. Barksdale said there are limited T-shirts for the 5K, so, those who register first will be more likely to get shirts.
She said the 5K run will go from the event on Main Street and continue up Hall’s Gap and turn around at the top of the mountain.
Following the 5K, there is live entertainment throughout the day from Still KickiN and Logan Graves, Barksdale said.
There is a cornhole tournament for students and adults beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sign ups are at 11 a.m. at Cricket Theater. This is for students and adults. The cost is $20 for a team of 2nd to 6th graders and $25 for a team of anyone 7th grade through adult age. There is a cash prize with the amount depending on the number of entries.
There is also a chili cook off with a $5 entry fee and a cash prize for that as well. For more information on that visit the Facebook page, “Turkey Trot, Collinsville, Al.”
Barksdale said there are some new vendors this year with a total of about 25 craft and food vendors. The event has received close to 45 sponsors, which makes this the best sponsored year yet, she said.
Proceeds from sponsors and events after the 5K run benefit the restoration of Cricket Theater, Barksdale said.
There is a raffle by the Collinsville Historical Association to win $1,000, and Barksdale said she hopes this is successful enough for there to be extra funds raised through this also.
The Collinsville Historical Association will have Turkey Trot T-shirts for sell at the event for $12, she said.
There will be inflatables for kids, as well as “old-fashioned games” that would have been played during the early years of the Turkey Trot, and all of these will be free for the kids, Barksdale said. These will include a sack race, three-legged race and money in the haystack, where kids can hunt change that has been put in the haystack.
Barksdale said they are honoring some of the old traditions of giving away 30 turkeys for Thanksgiving with some minor alterations to the traditions.
“This is a tradition from back in the early days, when they threw real turkeys into the crowd and whoever could catch one had their Thanksgiving dinner, so to speak,” she said. “So at the end of the day, we throw Beanie Baby turkeys, and those who catch a beanie baby turkey get a gift certificate to go to the Piggly Wiggly and get a turkey.”
In past years, Barksdale said she believes there have been 1,000 or more people come to the event throughout the day.
“There’s a lot of things going on right now with the [Collinsville] football team going to the [second round of the] playoffs this Friday, and they will be traveling all the way to Aliceville,” Barksdale said. “That’s a three-hour drive. So, anyone going to that will be pretty tired [Saturday].”
Barksdale said a large portion of the Collinsville community participates in the Turkey Trot.
“In a small town, it takes everybody,” she said. “It also helps the stores downtown that will be open during the event.”
If anyone is interested in history, the Museum of Collinsville History will also be open for visitors, Barksdale said.
“It looks like the weather’s going to be good,” she said. “We are hoping everybody will come to this year’s Turkey Trot.”