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Marin Independent Journal: Corte Madera Town Center's 'World's Largest Turkey' gobbles donations for 20th year

November 21, 2013

Reposted from the Marin Independent Journal
Written by Paul Liberatore
Article originally published by the Marin Independent Journal, Nov. 23, 2013
View the original story here >>

For the 20th consecutive year, the mechanical gobbler known as "The World's Largest Turkey" is making its annual appearance in Corte Madera's Town Center to collect food for Marin's needy.

Marin families have been climbing the stairs beside the 20-foot-tall, 23-foot-wide bird for two decades, lifting its wing to drop in donations of nonperishable food and toiletries that roll down into its large innards.

"After 20 years, I don't know if there's anyone who hasn't seen the turkey," said Stan Hoffman, Town Center general manager. "It's become a holiday season fixture and tradition. It's become part of our culture to feed the turkey."

Hoffman expects the turkey to gobble up 10,000 pounds of food that will go to the Marin Food Bank for people in need. After two decades, it has collected more than 100,000 pounds of donations.

"We are determined to provide everyone in need with the makings of a wholesome, home-cooked holiday meal," said Paul Ash, executive director of the Marin and San Francisco Food Banks. "To meet the demand, the food bank relies on the support of the community. We're grateful for the donations given the Town Center turkey."

The current Town Center turkey is actually a replica of the original big bird, built by Corte Madera resident John Lister, a former set designer for Industrial Light and Magic. In 2011, seeing that the turkey was getting a little long in the beak, Lister and his crew constructed a new one with the same bobbing head and interactive features as the one he built nearly two decades before.

"They donated the time and materials," Hoffman noted. "The turkey is one-of-a-kind, and it's all volunteer driven. It's a small town thing. They all get behind this to support the community."

This year, the giant turkey is in a new spot at the eastern entrance of the shopping center between The Counter Burger and Urban Outfitters. It's hard to miss.