Price of Turkey Forces Cancellation of 70-Year Tradition in Florida as Inflation Soars

For decades, residents of a small Florida city would fire shotguns at targets in hopes of winning a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. This year's festivities, however, have been canceled due to the rising cost of food as the U.S. grapples with soaring inflation.

The annual 'Turkey Shoot' in Seville was called off after the price of turkey nearly doubled, leaving the nonprofit organizers of the event without an option to afford the birds, reported the Daytona Beach News Journal.

"Most often we pay between 49 cents and 69 cents per pound of turkey and we try to do between a 10 to 11 pound bird which makes it very economical for us," Jana Register, a volunteer with the Seville Village Improvement Association (SVIA), told the news outlet.

But this year, Register said that the turkeys were around $1.19 a pound. The nonprofit usually buys 60 turkeys to give away leading up to Thanksgiving, but the new prices made it difficult to afford even 30.

"A couple of things have happened. Turkeys have gotten larger in size over the course of time and so the average turkey in the store is about 15 to 17 pounds. Very hard to find a smaller turkey, and so, when we looked at $1.19 a pound, it really just cut into our profitability," Register added.

The traditional turkey shoot has been held as SVIA's main fundraiser for nearly 70 years, and the money raised is used to maintain and improve services at the Seville Community Center, according to the News Journal.

This year marks the second in a row that the turkey shoot was put on hold, after the COVID-19 pandemic halted the festivity in 2020. To make up for canceling the event, SVIA will hold a tree-lighting ceremony with food and vendors at the community center in December.

But residents who were looking forward to gathering have expressed disappointment that they won't be able to come together over the decades-long tradition.

"It's terrible," 89-year-old resident Pasco Cade told the News Journal. "But I am not surprised. Everything is going sky high. And it doesn't look like things are going to get better."

The rising cost of turkeys comes amid a 30-year high for U.S. inflation rates, with the costs of things like groceries, gasoline, and rent rising around the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Oh my God," consumer Bernice Rink told NPR this week, "you can hardly buy groceries. You have chicken, which is the cheapest thing you can buy—$11," Rink added. "Not a family pack, mind you. A regular pack. Everything has increased."

Turkey Shoot Canceled in Florida
Amid soaring inflation, the price of turkey has forced one Florida city to cancel a 70-year tradition. Tim Graham/Getty Images