RICHMOND (BCN) — At least one bottle of Wild Turkey was emptied, but no birds were harmed at the 32nd annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Shoot, which drew 150 people Thursday.

Along with Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, participants including dogs, a goat, kids and adults assembled on Railroad Avenue in the city’s Point Richmond neighborhood at 10 a.m. for the decades-old Thanksgiving tradition.

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Richmond Mayor Tom Butt raises a shot at Richmond’s 32rd annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Shoot Nov. 25, 2021 (Photo credit: Mindy Pines)

The motley crew trooped through Point Richmond, ending up in the back yard of a local art gallery for the reading of a poem and the consumption of shots of Wild Turkey whiskey – hence the sobriquet “Turkey Shoot.”

“It’s a nice way to kick off the holiday season,” said Mindy Pines, who has lived in Richmond 12 years and has gone to every shoot, except for last year when the event was canceled by Covid.

“It’s quirky, the town is out and about having fun and socializing,” Pines said.

The Turkey Shoot started in 1989 as a rather unusual employee benefit for workers at the Hotel Mac, which still operates in downtown Point Richmond.

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“The boss felt sorry for the employees who had to work on Thanksgiving, so he took them out for a shot before their shifts started,” said Pam DeWitt, whose organization, Point Richmond Music, put on this year’s shoot.

Hotel Mac employees no longer participate in the event, but a wide – or, rather, wild – cross-selection of Richmond residents take part every year.

This year’s procession ended in the backyard meeting space of a local art gallery, where the ceremonial poem-reading took place, with a vigorous “Gobble, gobble, gobble!” punctuating the end of each verse.

At the end of the reading, members of the crowd threw back shots of Wild Turkey or, in some cases, sparkling cider. With 17 shots to a typical 25-ounce bottle of the hard stuff, it’s clear that at least one bottle of Wild Turkey was killed, though all avian life in the area remained unmolested.

There were some reports that up to five bottles of whiskey were consumed and that much more holiday spirit spread.

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