Your heart is pumping as you hold a frozen turkey in your hands. For a second, the world slows down and you aren’t sure why. Maybe it’s the 32-degree weather, or the confusion of throwing a frozen bird at a standard set of bowling pins, or that shot of Fireball starting to hit you. The cheers of the crowd are muted; all you can hear is your heart beating. The cold air that filled your lungs now feels warms as you visualize the pins down the lane all crashing and colliding into each other. You take one last breath before lunging forward to chuck the giant butterball down towards the pins. The moment the fowl hits the plastic tarp lane, everyone watches as the bird crashes into the pins leaving all but one. The crowd goes nuts, but you never lose focus. Now, it’s your partner’s turn to finish what you started. Only one pin left. One pin stands between you and a coveted pair of 100 level seats to see the Chicago Blackhawks play. This is the excitement that is…Turkey Bowling!
Black Wednesday (for those not familiar, it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) continues to be known as the busiest bar night of the year. Everyone celebrates the holiday by drinking copious amounts of alcohol before rushing home to spend the holiday with relatives they haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving. And let’s be honest, a hangover won’t be half as painful as hearing stories about Aunt Jeanie’s goiter for the eighth year in a row.
At Fatpour Tap Works, we set out to create an event with more to it than just boozing the night away; we envisioned a Black Wednesday tradition. An event people would be eager to participate or join as a spectator year after year. We pride ourselves as one of the most sought out sports bars in Chicago. It was a no-brainer to combine the symbol of Thanksgiving with a sporting event and hold a good old fashion Turkey Bowling Tournament. Immediately following our first event, people were raving how much fun they had with their friends and family. At that point, we knew this had to be an annual event.
Turkey bowling is a tournament, which allows for 64 spots (teams of 2), competing to knock down the most pins. The action takes place on our patio, which means we don’t take any space away from bar guests, and those waiting in line get to catch all the action. The competition concludes with an award ceremony where the first place team wins Blackhawks Tickets (we are an official Blackhawks bar). Most importantly, they are presented a trophy that comes with major bragging rights! There is no cost to participate, but we ask participants to bring in a canned food item to donate to our local shelters. Past events have turned this competition into one of the biggest canned food drives in Wicker Park.
Over the years, Black Wednesday has been our most profitable day of the year. Not only do 64 teams come to play, those teams bring friends and family to join this memorable evening. Every year, our bar has been overflowing with a line of patrons out the door waiting to join! Inside and outside the restaurant is full of people in good cheer from open to close.
We have a great amount of pride in our Turkey Bowling Tournament. Not only has it helped our business as a promotional idea, but also it’s evolved into a tradition that keeps guests returning every year. Going into the 7th Annual Turkey Bowling Tournament, we continue to learn and grow. We can only imagine how this event will continue to grow. We look forward to sharing fond memories each year and looking back at the wild ride after the next ten years.