Turtle Days

Turtle Days

Mid-June
The origins of this unusual festival, held in Churubusco, Indiana, can be traced back to 1948, when a farmer named Gale Harris spotted a huge turtle one day while patching his roof. Since the lakes around town were known as prime turtle-breeding grounds, the turtle's appearance was not surprising. But its apparent size was—four or five feet wide and six feet long, according to Harris and others who glimpsed it. Harris tried every way he could think of to capture the monster, but the turtle always managed to escape. Finally he went to the lengths of pumping water out of the lake, but just as there remained only about an acre of water in the lake, Harris got appendicitis. By the time he recovered from surgery, it had rained, ruining the dams and refilling the lake.
The town decided to capitalize on all the publicity it had received—newspapers around the country had been reporting on the search for the turtle, now dubbed Oscar, "the Beast of 'Busco"—and organize a community festival. The first Turtle Days festival was held in 1950. Now held annually in mid-June, the event features a parade with a turtle float, booths selling turtle soup, and turtle races.
CONTACTS:
Churubusco Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 83
Churubusco, IN 46723
260-693-9810
www.churubuscochamber.org
SOURCES:
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 300
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