LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — The owners of Backwoods Bar and Kitchen outside Dallas had their hands full on this day before Thanksgiving. The morning was spent getting ready for an afternoon turkey trot to benefit the Back Mountain Food Pantry. The afternoon will lead into the night, also known as Thanksgiving Eve.
"That's why we're having this event, to try to get everybody excited to come out and get everybody in the Thanksgiving mood. We'll get their motors revving and give 'em some booze. It'll be fun. We'll be hanging out, dressed like turkeys, and drinking a lot," Matt Mark said.
After the race, everyone dressed in a turkey costume gets half-price beer, and co-owner James Bolus just couldn't wait to get in the Thanksgiving spirit.
It was all smiles here—full drinks, full plates, full night of fun ahead—nothing like last year.
"Way different. It's like it used to be! So we're just going to enjoy the season and live it up."
On this day a year ago, the bar was empty on what's usually one of the busiest nights of the year.
"Oh, it was such a bust. But we're hoping today's going to be better."
Last year, 48 hours before Thanksgiving Eve, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered bars to stop selling alcohol after 5 p.m., citing COVID-19 precautions.
"Yeah, we hated that. We didn't know what was going on. And then they pulled the rug out from under our feet, right before it happened. And I felt like they could've given us more warning. I feel like they knew it was going to happen, and they didn't tell us," Mark said.
That's why this time, they're pulling out all the stops here.
"Hopefully, we can do it different than anybody else does it, with a bunch of guys dressed up as turkeys."
There are plenty of places doing drink deals Wednesday night, just like Backwoods Bar and Kitchen.
State police are reminding everyone to use a designated driver or a ridesharing service to get home safely.