Olympia grocery store patrons pin their hopes on frozen turkey bowling

As the large, frozen bird skidded down the grocery store aisle, the crowd cheered.

Smash! The turkey crashed into a set of bowling pins, causing them to scatter across the smooth, white tiles.

While the scene might seem a little strange — bowling in a grocery store? — it’s a familiar sight to Olympia residents who have attended Bayview Thriftway’s Frozen Turkey Bowl before. The grocery store has held the event for the past six years, with this year’s Turkey Bowl taking place Saturday.

Seven-year-old Lily Demko and her 3-year-old brother, Desmond, of Olympia strategized as they waited their turn.

Lily said she’s bowled a turkey twice before and decided that using a smaller bird would be best.

“They’re a little easier,” she said. “The big ones are really heavy.”

Desmond said he wanted to use the big, full-size turkey and knock down five pins. But when his turn came up, he opted to use the smaller one.

He knocked down three pins and ran back to his parents cheering.

Carly Brettman, marketing manager for Stormans Inc., the company that owns Bayview Thriftway, said the event drew about 200 people last year. To participate, people need bring only one nonperishable food item to donate to the Thurston County Food Bank.

Anyone who bowls a strike wins a free turkey, and anyone who picks up a spare wins a bag of groceries.

“Last year about half of the people who won a bag of groceries donated it to the food bank,” Brettman said. “So it’s a really good way for people to give.”

Store employees even got in on the fun, advising people on how to bowl their turkeys and passing out the bags of groceries.

Irene Wood landed the job of returning the turkeys to the start of the lane and setting up the pins. She said it’s harder work than it looks.

“It’s definitely my workout for the day,” she said.