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Two neighbors, who live near Willow Creek Drive and Borman Street, had an inflatable turkey battle in their front yards.
Looking for an inflatable turkey decoration for your front yard for Thanksgiving?
“I think all of Omaha is out of them,” Dan Vacha said.
Not quite all of Omaha.
At last count, nearly 50 inflatable turkeys decorated two houses southeast of 156th and Harrison Streets in the Birchfield II subdivision.
It’s all part of a turkey war, a little fun between neighbors that they agree has gotten out of hand.
“They’re on the house, in the trees,” Amanda Friskopp said of the birds. “It’s quite ridiculous-looking.”
It’s become something of a neighborhood attraction that’s also garnering national attention.
Since The World-Herald initially reported on their battle, Vacha estimated that every 30 seconds, a car pulls up and a person takes photos of the inflatable flocks. He also noted that the Wall Street Journal sent a reporter to Omaha to write about the battle.
It all started innocently enough four years ago, when the Friskopps were given an inflatable turkey. They named him Tom. Amanda and husband Aron added Turkey No. 2, Tomas, and then their third child wondered why there weren’t three.
Across the street, Vacha put up just one turkey. But the next year, thanks to some clearance sales, he suddenly had four. And the race was on.
The competition usually starts Nov. 1, but this year, the Friskopps fired the first salvo by putting out their first turkey at 10:01 p.m. on Halloween. The Vachas were outside with the Friskopps when Aron suddenly disappeared and the turkey appeared.
As of Friday evening, the Friskopps had 23 inflatable turkeys in their front yard and Vacha had 25 as well as many non-inflatable decorations. And those numbers likely will keep growing until it’s time to feast on the real thing.
The competitors admitted, on the sly, that they have others in reserve.
Amanda, a speech therapist, said she even sent her brother, Ehren Herd, to Columbus for turkeys once the Omaha area’s supply seemed to be depleted. Vacha, an airline pilot, said he has turned to the Internet.
It’s not a cheap war. The 6-foot inflatables can cost as much as $100. The smaller ones go for around $25.
If you want to know who seems to fuel the fire for the ever-increasing turkey totals, Vacha said look no further than 9-year-old Paxton Friskopp.
“He continues to keep track,” Vacha said. “He always has to prompt his dad to get one more than us.”
Vacha said his teenage children, meanwhile, think he’s crazy. As does his wife, Kristine.
Amanda agreed that Paxton is a little invested in the competition. In fact, he didn’t want her to say how many turkeys they had in their stash, just in case Vacha would find out.
She said Paxton would love to stay home just to make sure Vacha doesn’t put any up while he’s at school.
“My favorite part is putting up the turkeys with my dad and making sure we have more turkeys than Dan does,” Paxton said.
Besides being entertaining, Vacha says there’s another side benefit for the neighborhood. People usually blow through the stop sign at the three-way stop between the houses. But now, they stop and take the opportunity to gawk.
Amanda said her family probably won’t stop until they run out of the outlets needed to light the birds at night or space in the yard — although she said Monday that she’s going to wait to add more until it warms up a little.
Amanda admits it’s not just Paxton who is fired up by the competition.
“I’ll say, ‘Absolutely no more turkeys,’ ” she said. “Then I find myself on the phone to Menards, looking for more.”
When the competition ends Thanksgiving week, no prize will be awarded. Down will come the turkeys and up will go more modest Christmas decorations.
“You get nothing,” Vacha said. “Bragging rights only.”
World-Herald staff writer Bob Glissmann contributed to this report.
Photos: Thanksgiving in the Omaha area through the years
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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.
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