DEAN: So buck tradition.
RORY: Are you kidding? Do you remember how mad Taylor was when I was sick and I couldn’t go to the turkey-calling contest?
Turkey calling is a type of contest held in North America, where contestants must try to mimic the sound of a turkey so successfully that judges cannot tell the difference between the human and a real turkey. They may use their voice (“natural turkey calling”), or use instruments made of wood, glass, metal, etc, and must perform five different calls.
Turkey calling contests are usually held during the turkey hunting season, in the fall, with Thanksgiving providing a natural occasion to include one. The other season for turkey calling contests is the spring, during the turkey mating season.
If Stars Hollow holds theirs at Thanksgiving, it isn’t mentioned in the Thanksgiving episode we see (that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen offscreen, of course). Also, Rory wasn’t sick the previous Thanksgiving – she seemed fine at the Chilton play, which occurred around the same time. That means that if it’s held at Thanksgiving, Rory must have been sick at Thanksgiving 2000, which took place between “Love and War and Snow” and “Rory’s Dance”. She and Dean had just begun dating then, so he would be able to remember her being too sick to participate.
Another possibility is that it’s part of the Autumn Festival, in early November. Rory wasn’t sick for the 2000 one, but is just possible she was sick the previous year, in 2001. We see her just before and after the festival but not on the day itself, so if she was sick, it would have just been a 24-hour bug (food poisoning from leftovers???).
This is the first mention we get of Taylor apparently insisting that Rory participate in every Stars Hollow activity, even though she didn’t go on the teen hayride in the pilot episode. It puts a slightly sinister spin on the enforced fun that Rory seems to have been pressured into.