Putting the wine in the Turkey Leg & Wine Hoedown are Alvin “Bubba” Wagner with Lana Rupprecht, Jennifer Smith, Suzanne Staiert, daughter Marissa, Lisa Herbert and nondrinking teen David Jones. File photo
Greg Reinke is old enough to remember Littleton back in the days before old-fashioned childhood fun was regulated to death.
“You could actually fish those ponds around here,” Reinke waxed nostalgic. “You’d go off with your friends and you wouldn’t come back until the sun went down. We used to go by the river and build a treehouse. There was no code enforcer. Then, civilization came in—and they put up signs.”
There will be no posted prohibitions on swimming or wading at the 8th annual Turkey Leg-Wine Hoedown, which for one weekend a year takes Littleton to a simpler, halcyon time—back when kids were kids—without cellphones—and political correctness was not even a rumor.
“It’s where the kids can come and enjoy their parents,” quipped Reinke, president of Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants, which hosts the decidedly lowbrow affair, Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, in the parking lot of Reinke Bros., 5663 S. Prince St.
How does one describe this most unique of summer rituals—one that has seen former state Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff go frozen-turkey bowling while Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert sported her Daisy Duke shorts in a photo op?
Picture 21st Century young’uns fishing for crawdads in the “river” while mom plays redneck-style miniature golf with crutches and dad bellys up for a tall one in the yonder Amazon Treehouse Bar—the only watering hole in these parts that is “manned” by women folk six feet or taller.
“I just think it’s funner than heck to have people sitting in my parking lot thinking this is the best bar in town,” Reinke said of the ever-popular treehouse.
That deck is also perfect for people-watching—little people, specifically—with a perfect bird’s eye view of the Little People Paddle Boat Pond. The idea of wading, straw-hatted dwarfs boarding folks into paddleboats—making the water look deeper—is just one more of Reinke’s crazy ideas come to life.
“No one believed I would do it,” he said.
This year’s redneck-fueled Hoedown will also boast live Southern-fried rockabilly from the Hillbilly Hellcats and the Dave Frisk Band, traditional straight-faced square dancing, emoji-hole beanbag throwing—and this year, for the first time, paint-by-numbers paintball—an idea oddly prompted by Reinke’s recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.
The real stars of the Hoedown are the turkey legs and wine of the title. There is nothing like washing down a Cajun-spiced leg with wine out of a wheelbarrow, pushed by “Daisy Duke” or “Bubba.” For highfalutin folk, there is even a wine and cheese pairin’—with Manichevitz and Cheese Whiz.
You’ll be as full as a tick on a hound dog. Especially if you use a rag for a gas cap.
“It’s all tongue in cheek,” Reinke clarified.
Admission is five bucks—only three if you dress like a redneck.
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