Hijinks in Point Richmond
November 29, 2002
It was warm and sunny in Point Richmond on Thanksgiving Day, and the annual "Turkey Shoot" tradition was alive and well See Chronicle story below). After the parade, many marchers and celebrants adjourned to the First United Methodist Church (http://www.pointrichmond.com/methodist/home.htm) for the annual Thanksgiving Day free turkey dinner where all were welcome. For more see http://www.pointrichmond.com/.
Annual parade in Point Richmond gives peace a shot
Thanksgiving Day brings town, goats together in bar
It was the Point Richmond Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot and March for Peace, where goats and dogs nearly outnumber people and turkeys don't die.
The community ritual begins at the Plunge natatorium and usually ends down the street -- at the Spot bar, where the turkey shoot part of the day is all about shots of Wild Turkey, rather than shots at wild turkeys.
"It's weird. And goofy. But it's fun," said Tom Butt, a Richmond city councilman who brought seven of his goats and several family members to Thursday's event.
This year, with war looming in Iraq, some Richmonders decided the turkey shoot part of the event needed another angle.
"We're all peaceful people and want to see peace continue in the world," said Shannon McGowan, who added the "and March for Peace" to the annual shoot and put up posters around town promoting both.
So out came the peace people and protest signs (the goats and dogs have been regulars for years). The town is small, and organizers considered changing the route to meander through town rather than going straight from the pool to the bar.
Instead of going inside the bar ("too many children and goats," one person said), the crowd of 65 gathered out front for a poetry reading from the town's poet laureate.
But Walt, the laureate whose last name no one could remember and who earned the title after showing up one year with a poem -- was out of town.
So Sandy Hulse, a Unitarian Universalist minister wearing a pilgrim woman's coif, read it instead:
"Here we are in two thousand and two/Marching for peace, drinking Wild Turkey brew/But we are even stronger and more resolute/Because this is the annual Turkey Shoot," went the opening stanza.
Above the bar, a man sang out the chorus from Country Joe McDonald's "I- Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" from a window. The crowd joined him.
But Vietnam had to wait for the high pitched calls of "gobble, gobble, gobble," chased with $4 shots of bourbon.
On the other end of the counter, regular patrons grumbled about the turkeys on their corner.
No one remembers exactly when this Point Richmond event started, only that it grew out of a tradition by Hotel Mac employees whose boss showed his appreciation for work on the holiday with a jaunt across the street to the bar.
Townsfolk adopted the event, and the hotel workers don't join in anymore.
That didn't matter to Thursday's marchers, who took in the goats, dogs, peace signs and alcohol without blinking.
"That's just sort of the way the town is," McGowan said.
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle </chronicle/info/copyright>. Page A - 25