As the new owner of Clasen’s Tavern in Union, Jim “Igg” Hennig decided to go back to his roots this Thanksgiving season.
And by roots, he means “turkey testicles.”
“People love them and nothing tastes like them,” said Hennig, who is hosting IGGS Turkey Testicle Festival at 4 p.m. Nov. 27 at Clasen’s, 17628 Depot St., Union. “People say chicken lizards. That’s not it. It tastes like a turkey nut.”
What does that taste like?
“Unique,” Hennig said.
Inspired by a similar festival he heard about in California, Hennig said he brought the Turkey Testicle Festival to Huntley’s Parkside Pub in 1982.
“I was the founder of the whole deal,” he said. “I just ran with the idea.”
Parkside continues to carry on that tradition, hosting its own Turkey Testicle Festival beginning at 11 a.m. Nov. 27.
A third area Turkey Testicle Festival, in its 12th year, will take place 7 p.m. Nov. 27 at Donley’s Wild West Town, 8512 S. Union Road, Union.
All expect to draw crowds. The demand for the annual turkey testicles is high, Hennig said.
Hennig, along with his wife, Alison Briginshaw, took over Clasen’s in June and since have worked to restore the 113-year-old tavern. The Clasen family owned the bar for 91 years.
Patrons asked Hennig to bring a turkey testicle festival to the business, he said, knowing Hennig’s past involvement with the event.
“The original festival is going to be at the oldest bar in McHenry County,” he said.
The bar, as well as a 500-person capacity heated tent, will provide room for patrons to partake in the “delicacy,” depending on your tastes.
A $10 entry fee to Clasen’s will include two free deep-fried turkey testicles, with proceeds going to the Union Fire Department. Music will be provided by Pirates Over 40 and local Union band 2EZ.
Patrons can watch a live turkey play “poop the square,” and purchase T-shirts, apple pie and Jell-O shots. A live turkey will be raffled.
At Parkside, bands performing under a heated tent include Voyage 1 to 3 p.m.; Friction 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Hairbangers Ball 6 to 9 p.m. and Mike & Joe 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Parkside also charges a $10 admission at the door with proceeds going to local organizations.
At Donley’s, the event takes place entirely inside with live music by Alex & The Allstars, party host Naughty Nellie and DJ Tom Hicks of “Music in Motion.” Complimentary turkey testicles, outrageous games and free giveaways are included.