YELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - After a protest on social media from PETA and concerned citizens, the 71st annual Turkey Trot Festival continued this weekend in Yellville without a hitch. On Friday, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said six turkeys were thrown from a plane high above the festival, but only five managed to glide down for a safe landing. One turkey died on impact.
Then on Saturday, The Baxter Bulletin reported another three turkeys were dropped by the supposed "The Phantom Pilot", believed to be Dana Woods. No opponents of the "turkey drop" were on hand for either day to stop or protest the event. Instead, children caught turkeys and old friends caught up at the yearly event.
"For a lot of people this event is a great time to see family and friends you haven't seen all year," said Marion County Judge Terry Ott. "This is like a reunion and a homecoming rolled into one."
According to Keith Edmonds, a member of the Yellville Chamber of Commerce, spoke with The Baxter Bulletin about the onslaught of messages this past weekend. He said they received over 2,000 messages from people opposed to throwing turkeys out of a plane due to animal cruelty concerns. But some of the messages were supposedly laced with vitriolic threats to organizers of the festival.
"Keep this in mind. When you drove over here, you probably killed some bugs that splatted against your windshield," said Ott when asked about the threats. "What are you going to do, walk everywhere you go?"
Ott continued to respond to the threats asking people to think about how they respond to things they don't agree with.
"Turkeys fly, they don't get harmed. I know those are tough words but," Ott said before shrugging.
The Turkey Trot festival will continue on Sunday until around midnight.