‘It’s a big attraction’: Giant turkey draws tourists to small community

His name is Tom, Tom the turkey that is.

The nine-foot-tall statue is La Riviere’s most famous landmark, and impossible to miss as you drive by.

“It’s a big attraction and it looks very nice in the summer,” said Charlene Currie, La Riviere LUD Representative.

The turkey was put on its pedestal nearly 40 years ago to commemorate the La Riviere’s centennial in 1986.

Residents designed and built the turkey themselves after a professional told them it would cost $35,000 to do it, or nearly $100,000 today.

“We decided, well look, there’s no way this little community is going to raise $35,000 for that,” said Ken Maloney, who helped build the turkey.

It was a high point for the small rural community, but while the turkey is still looking great, things aren’t looking quite as good for the community itself.

“Now we only have four farmers. It’s hard to make a living on four families instead of a dozen or 20,” said Kim Wiklund, a La Riviere resident.

Today there are only about 200 people living in La Riviere, and several businesses have flown the coop.

“This used to be a general store here,” said Maloney, pointing at an old building. “If you couldn’t find what you needed in there you didn’t need it! And then we had the credit union down there. That closed a couple of years ago. And at one time there were about six garages here. Things just dwindled out.”

But while fewer people may be living here full-time – there’s no shortage of people passing by.

Tom the turkey still pulls people in like it’s time for Thanksgiving Dinner.

“It’s the tourism, people that are passing through want to get their picture taken with it,” said Currie.

When they do, Currie said they see all the things La Riviere has to offer, such as its trails for walking, biking, and hiking.

So as long as the statue stands tall, so too does La Riviere, always ready to welcome the next visitor to this wonderful community. 

View original article here Source