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Beach food festival keeps name

Fort Myers, Beach- Organizers of a Fort Myers Beach food festival can keep their name, despite concerns about the propriety of the word and the island’s virtue.

The Fort Myers Beach council voted 4-1 Monday to allow the Surf Club bar to use the Turkey Testicle Festival name after a laugh-out-loud discussion.

“This would be the fourth annual Turkey Testicle Festival. … The fiber of our town has not unraveled,” said Councilman Charles Meador.

“Byron, Ill., will be celebrating its 28th annual Turkey Testicle Festival,” said Meador, who then listed at least six more cities who host annual events with the name testicle.

“Who cares what the name is. … money is going for a worthy cause,” Mayor Dennis Boback said.

The festival, which has drawn about 300 people, has raised about $3,000 for the Harry Chapin Food Bank in each of its past three years. A change in Beach policy that requires the Town Council to approve special events brought the issue of the name to the table two weeks ago.

Councilmen Bill Shenko and Garr Reynolds had said the name is inappropriate for a family island. They asked that the word testicle be removed from the name and all advertising.

Shenko reversed his position Monday and supported the testicle name. Reynolds continued his opposition.

“We do have youngsters here. We’re trying to uplift their thinking,” said Reynolds, the lone dissenting vote.

“I think the island is losing it’s sense of humor,” Councilman Don Massucco said. “It’s a generic term, it’s used everywhere.”

Bruce Cermak, Surf Club owner, left the meeting with teary eyes from laughing so much. He said he has received a lot of phone calls and jokes since the controversy began and expects more people to attend the fundraiser.

“Something good always comes out of adversity,” Cermak said.

The testicles, which are deep fried and dipped in a variety of sauces, are what make the festival such a novelty, supporters have said. Their logo – a frightened turkey with his arms covering his groin – is one of the best-selling T-shirts on the Beach.

“I am glad we didn’t sit here and argue about semantics,” said Beach resident Carrie Hill.

“There are plenty across the country who are not offended by a testicle festival,” she said. “Only turkeys seem to have a reason to be upset.”

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