EASTHAM — The Outer Cape’s annual fall festivals have all taken a hit during 2020, thanks to Covid-19. “What’s next?” you might be asking. “No Eastham Turnip Festival this year?”
Not if Marianne Sinopoli can help it.
“Our thought was not to cancel outright and put the turnip to bed for the year, but to see what we could do to keep the spirit of the turnip festival alive, albeit virtually,” says Sinopoli, now in her eighth year as Turnip Festival chair. “I’m happy to say that we’ve had some creative ideas. I like to use the line, ‘We’ve taken this rotten tomato, and we’re trying to “turnip” it around.’ ”
The 17th annual festival, originally scheduled for Nov. 21, will take a turn away from its usual gathering spot at the Nauset Regional High School. But it will still celebrate Eastham’s agricultural history.
The purple and white Eastham turnip was always coveted for its unique flavor and sweeter-than-others taste. That’s what brings so many to the festival, held annually on the third weekend in November.
In 2019, over 3,000 pounds of turnips were sold in just three hours. This year, Eastham turnips, supplied by Red Berry Farm, will be available for purchase at the Eastham Superette and Friends Market in Orleans.
The annual turnip cookoff has been a highlight, featuring turnip-based treats such as turnip au gratin, quiche, pulled pork, and even turnip doughnuts.
The cookoff will be sidelined this year in favor of the “Taste of Turnip” Day on Nov. 21. Local food establishments that feature an Eastham turnip dish that day will be highlighted on the festival site, social media, and media outlets. Eighteen eateries have already signed on.
A virtual craft fair, featuring local artisans and farmers, is in the works.
Various online children’s activities are planned, along with a “Story Walk,” featuring the pages of a turnip picture book, to be set up outside at either the library or the Windmill Green. Entertainers include Trevor the Juggler, a balloon and magic show by Jungle Jim, and puppeteer Mary Wilson.
More details and links to events will be listed at easthamturnipfestival.com in another week or two. For more information, call Marianne Sinopoli at 508-240-5950, ext. 3132.