Last weekend I was going to try and go to the Tremont Turkey Festival last week, but I had to work Friday and Saturday night and then Sunday was the ACE comic book expo then I cleaned out some bellybutton lint, had a sugar-free popsicle and before I knew it, it was Monday morning and the Tremont Turkey Festival was all over for another year. I hate it when that happens!
The Tremont Turkey Festival may have ended last Sunday, but I’ve been thinking about it all week and one thing I’m wondering about is this: Is there any stinking turkey left in that town after this festival that’s dedicated to only one thing and that’s people in Tremont gourging themselves in what sounds like an obsessive and somewhat unhealthy weekend of devouring all things turkey? It’s the only festival I know of around here dedicated to just one singular kind of food and I’ve been wondering all week, after this strange and somewhat OCD-like three day long festival of people stuffing themselves silly with turkey, is there any left in that town after that weekend? You’ve probably never worried or thought about this, but that’s why I’m here. My name’s Wombacher and I have a blog and I’m going to get to the bottom of this turkey business in Tremont and see if there’s any gobbling goodness left in that town after their trifecta of turkey weekend! You can thank me later, for now, let’s go hit the road to Tremont, in search of turkey...after the Tremont Turkey Festival!
Off we go on our investigative Tremont Turkey adventure! I feel like a combination of a rolling Woodward/Bernstein over here!
The first stop we’re going to make is Pinky’s Ice Cream Parlor and I’m anxious to check this place out because the last time I was here it was winter and Pinky’s was closed, so now we can take a look at this summer ice cream refuge and also see if they have any turkey remnants left over from the Turkey Fest. As I went in and explained myself, Amelia and Kylie, the two pretty women behind the counter were confused at first. That happens a lot to me in my travels for some reason, but after some discussion, they told me they have a homemade ice cream bar called a, “Gobbler.” Perfect! I got one and took it outside to get a shot of it with the sign looming behind it! All hail the Gobbler! It was delicious by the way! There’s nuts and caramel inside and it’s a great summer treat to...well...gobble on!
The Tremont Depot
About a block away from Pinky’s is The Tremont Depot...hey, check out the sign! How did they know we were coming? Let’s go and continue our travelings for turkey in Tremont!
First stop here is the Simply Sweet Cakes Bakery that specializes in custom made cakes and cupcakes! I figured there might be a turkey cake or cupcake in here and while I didn’t find a turkey bakery item, I did find a cupcake topped with Reece’s Pieces that had all the colors of Thanksgiving on top of it and that’s close enough for turkey for me! That’s the owner of Simply Sweet Bakery, Mike, showing us this festive cupcake! I took a bit and while it didn’t taste like turkey, it was sweet and a real treat!
Right next door to Simply Sweet Bakery Bakery is The Tremont Gallery and The Pearl Street Stamping Company. As I stepped inside I was confident that we’d find something turkey-related in here, the place is loaded with interesting gifts and items on display, so let’s take a look around. Okay I found some books with Little Kittens, Butterflies, Bunnies and Dogs, but no turkeys. There’s some frogs and toads stickers, but sadly no turkeys. Sob! Just then, Ann, the co-owner of Tremont Gallery pointed me in the direction of this wooden case that has not one, but two ceramic turkeys in it! Beautiful! And then she took me over to the Pearl Street Stamping Company and found me a Turkey Stamp over there to take home as a souvenir! Perfect and thanks to Ann for the hospitality and helping us out on our MBIP Tremont turkey hunt!
Sampson Street and Joy’s Barber Shop
Okay, here we are at Sampson Street, the main drag here in Tremont and the first stop I walked by was Joy’s Barber Shop, but it’s closed on Thursdays. So this brought a moment of sadness realizing that, at least in this section of Tremont, there is no Joy today! Oh the heartache! Let’s just keep moving along before I get too despondent over here!
The Tremont District Library
I wandered into the Tremont Public Library and went up to the front desk and explained my turkey journey to Angie and Maria and with the clockwork precision of two synchronized swimmers they produced two stuffed turkeys! Very impressive! Then Angie took me to the Children’s section and produced this book, “I’m A Turkey!” Which I may use as the title of my upcoming biography!
The Prairie Inn
The Prairie Inn is kind of a hidden gem here in Tremont, it’s located a couple doors down from the library and I’ve never noticed it before. So I strolled in and the front room was empty, so I turned around the corner and found a nice bar situated in the back room! That’s Steve, the bartender behind the bar, he’s the hardest working bartender in Tremont...just ask him! Anyway, the first two bottles weren’t the right ones, but then he got into the program and plopped a bottle of Wild Turkey on the bar! And then he showed me the menu on the all featuring a Pulled Turkey sandwich! Is pulling your turkey similar to choking your chicken? Well, I’m not going to stick around for an answer to that, we must keep moving along here!
Beecham’s Market is a real jewel here in Tremont. It’s a legendary grocery store and market that’s been in business here in Temont since 1936. It’s been family-owned all this time and that’s Dave pointing to The Tremont Turks sign, who owns the place these days with his wife, who’s the daughter of Lanny, who’s the son of the founding owner. Got all of that? I didn’t think so! Anyway, up by the cash register is some photos of Lanny’s Turkeys and in the back of the store is the impressive meat cooler that people travel for miles around to buy the exclusive cuts of meat sold here. And as you can see, they still have a turkey breast and some turkey burgers left over from last week’s Turkey Festival! And the last shot is two generations of Beecham’s Market owner’s, Dave and Lanny!
Perdue’s Bar and Grill
I’ve eaten lots of dishes at Perdue’s since I started the MBIP blog over three years ago, in fact this place was the second stop on our very first MBIP food tour when we ate twenty tenderloins in twenty weeks. I’ve also had pizza here, but I’ve never had anything turkey related, time to change all of that today, but before we even walk in, we must take a photo of the Tremont Turks logo on the window in the back! Okay, once inside, I have the run of the whole place seeing that it’s the middle of the afternoon and everyone else is working today, but not me! Josh is the friendly bartender on duty and here he is with a cold beer! I check out the menu for turkey selections and there’s a turkey burger there, but Josh suggested the Turkey Horseshoe sandwich, so that’s what I ordered!
While the Turkey Horseshoe is being prepared, let’s take a look around in here. Behind the bar is the collection of bottle openers that people bring in, I always forget to bring one, but next time for sure! There’s a sign with all the beers on top and below the sign is the actual taps themselves! It’s a turkey day miracle I tell ya! I love the Perdue’s Coasters with their slogan of “warm beer and lousy food.” Ha! Bartender Troy has just come on duty and he remembered me from my first time in here and it’s great to see him again! And then Nicole showed up and posed for the MBIP Camera! Nicole worked at the Journal Star and said to say hi to my PJ Star friends, Matt Buedel, Steve Tarter, Phil Luciano, Terry Towery and all of the rest of you who just walked in off the street and write for the Peoria Journal Star! And check out the Feature of the Day...they had to do that behind my back! Anyway, that reminds me that it’s close to...
Turkey time! Here’s Josh with the Turkey Horseshoe sandwich and this thing is a monster of a meal! It’s got a huge pile of fries, a melted cheese sauce and two other kinds of melted cheese, slices of turkey, chopped tomatoes and it all sits on two big pieces of toasted Texas slices of bread! Okay, we’ve learned two things today: There is turkey here in Tremont after the annual Tremont Turkey Festival and turkey is loaded with Trytophan, which some say makes you sleepy, I don’t know about that, but when you add a huge pile of french fries, about a pound of melted cheese and slices of thick bread to the mix, it’ll knock you out for sure! So thanks to everyone at Tremont for playing along with me, it's one of the friendliest towns in the Midwest! Now I’m going to go and collapse! We’ll see you all tomorrow!