We don't make it out to the Verboort Sausage and Kraut Fest every year, but we regularly attend this annual fund-raiser so I can get my hunkie food fix. Verboort was settled by Dutch Catholics about 1870 and descendants of the original settlers still live there--names like Vandehey, Evers, VanDomelan, VanDyke, Duyck, Schmidlkofer, Vandecoevering are common. The church funds the the K-8 Visitation School for the children of the area through this fund-raising dinner. They have been doing it for 76 years.
Visitation Church framed by giant sequoias
the parking dude has the most scenic job of all
To make this annual dinner a success, everybody helps. Young men direct the parking. The younger children roll the silverware into the napkins. The next older group sets the tables and keeps the water pitchers filled. The teenagers assist the adults in serving the food. And the adults and teens work all year long raising the beef, pork, cabbage, and apples for sauce. The menu:
apple or lemon meringue pie
The organizers have the process down to a science. All summer and fall they are making and smoking sausage and preparing the kraut and applesauce. They plan on serving 8000 dinners the first Saturday of November. Every year. Tickets cost $15 and each is numbered. You can't sit down to the table until your number is lower than the posted number. Yesterday our tickets were in the 700s so we entered when the posted number was 1600 (we could have gone in earlier; when we came out the number was up to 2400).
the sign indicates that ticket numbers 1600 and under are now being served
The parish hall is built with two large banquet rooms each holding close to 200 diners. Servers in Dutch hats bring you a plate fully loaded with dinner. The salad and applesauce are already on the table. Other servers circulate with more sausage and kraut. When you are about to burst and manage to waddle out the door, your table is cleared and reset for the next diner.
servers lined up at kitchen to fetch dinners
our fellow diners
Along with the dinner, there is a beer garden, bingo, holiday bazaar, quilt raffle, and take-out sales. The Visitation Catholic Church and school are built in the shade of 140-year-old giant sequoias. It's a great way to spend part of a Saturday and help a good cause.
mmmm, that was delicious