Momma Told Me: 3 Alternative Turkey Day Celebrations: Tournaments, Turkey Bowling, Turkey Catapult

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3 Alternative Turkey Day Celebrations: Tournaments, Turkey Bowling, Turkey Catapult

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Momma Told Me: It's about the memories, not the bird.

Oh Turkey Day, the second holiday amidst the Eating season- after all, that's what it is, right? First you parade door to door asking for diabetes candy, or you are the unfortunate host leftover with a cauldron full of sweets that didn't get passed out. -And as innocent as 'fun size' candy sounds, does anyone ever really east just 1-2? But I digress, the glutton season is upon us; time to pack on those pounds we so carefully whittled away through Spring for the impending bathing suit season. Toss on that ugly Christmas sweater and tone your cheeks for the inevitable pinching from strange family members you've otherwise forgotten the past year. Yes, the holidays, they are magical, and so is Turkey Day.

Amazingly enough, it seems we, as a nation, continue to get restless with this 'patriotic' gorging of food, and more and more seek out alternative variations of the festivities each year. Whether you're looking to brine a turkey in soy sauce, or go entirely soy with a meat free spread, stuffing one's mouth full of tryptophan before the big game is a nationwide tradition. But, if you're aching to experience Thanksgiving like never before, I've put together a few alternative celebrations our family liked to participate in for your consideration.
1.) Thanksgiving Tournament: No, I'm not talking about that scrimmage game of tag football your family whips up just after Uncle Tom has had a bit too much cider- I'm talking about annual Turkey Day events. Believe it or not, several organizations take over numerous local venues to hold fun alternative holiday events open to the general public. In our town the event to participate in, or simply attend, is the Nardcore Turkey Toilet Bowl. Nardcore, being the punk rock subculture (non-sanctioned) bowling group that hosts 2 yearly tournaments and countless live music shows; the toilet being from nearby city Simi Valley (the land of toilets- don't ask). This Nardcore group bowls year-round at our local house (alley) and is known for amazing events that pack the alley beyond standing room and even outside to stage events. Above you see the commemorative statue and trophy for this absurdly themed event, in which no turkeys are actually harmed.
2.) Frozen Turkey Bowling: Not to be confused with the previous event, Turkey bowling is actually quite popular in a charity concept seen across the nation. Many schools and local organizations will offer a chance to throw a real frozen Butterball turkey at genuine bowling pins (often in a school gym, grocery store, or parking lot) in exchange for a fundraising donation. I had the chance to participate in a fun based turkey bowling event last year when a beloved house alley shut down just a week before the Turkey Day Holiday. Moments before the alley was to begin being torn down several frozen turkeys were passed out and hurled down the lanes in commemoration. Not sure there's a frozen turkey event near you? You'd be surprised how many are organized- or how easy it is to set one up for an organization you care about!
3.) Turkey Alternatives: While we're conditioned to crave this juicy bird all year, not everyone feels a shared passion for the carving and the eating of turkey. In fact, there's an ongoing debate in my family as to whether it's the turkey or the ham that makes this feast amazing. (Though it's hard to argue with a 48 hour slow smoked bird- deeeelicious!) That being said, The Bison Council is here to remind us all that we have other meat choices this Thanksgiving. Why not save a bird and savor some bison? Personally, bison has always been a delicacy for me, living in Southern California where I have the luxury of buying it fresh- I would jump for joy if a Bison roast appeared on our Thanksgiving table. Watch the video above to see how the pilgrims reacted when they were handed fresh bison for T-Day- it's hysterical!

What alternative Thanksgiving traditions do you partake in?

What Daughter Says: Isn't it time to shake up your Turkey Day with a new tradition?


  1. I have only cooked a turkey once in my life! Since we moved to Montana we go to a friend's house for dinner. I am in charge of the rolls - they love my croissants. I get to bring home the carcass so I can make stock to can. I don't know how "alternative" this is but it's what we do.

    When I lived near my family my sister in law cooked Thanksgiving - I had Christmas.

  2. I'm actually cooking the turkey for the first time this year... I'm a little nervous about that fact. But I totally agree with you - It's not about the bird, it's about the memories. I have so many great ones from previous Thanksgivings. I'm hoping to make some new ones this year. - Katy

  3. I am intrigued by the thought of eating bison, but not by the thought of what it likely costs per pound.

    For a nice alternative to thanksgiving just invite everyone over and tell them you are preparing a turkey and ham feast. Then when they arrive provide them nothing more than a few loaves of bread and a couple packages of store brand, highly processed, sandwich meat. They will hate you for the prank, but will also never come over to your house again. I call that 2 birds with one stone.

  4. My Husband makes the best Turkey Day Feast I have ever had, so I am hardcore Parade and Pig Out!

  5. I've cooked 15 Thanksgiving turkeys and deep fried turkey breasts for 2 Thanksgivings (in a way I would not recommend for safety reasons)...I love turkey for Thanksgiving, and have only had an alternative a couple of times(ham) when I've visited others for the holiday.

  6. I especially like having seafood options on the menu. I do love stuffing, but I get kind of sick of Turkey. Love the Bison recipe ideas.

  7. Bison sounds interesting, I would like to try it. I always make Turkey but this year I was thinking of making baked Pineapple Ham.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. New traditions are great. The school I work in has a Turkey Bowl and they do raise money for a family in need.
    twinkle at optonline dot net

  9. i love turkey and especially leftovers We have a great time and everyone brings a side

  10. we don't really do anything different on turkey day