Plenty of good eating over the weekend
The aroma of fresh barbecued ribs sent an inviting smell at the foot of the Swiss Clock Tower on Saturday afternoon as a large crowd of hungry Berne residents came to judge the best in rib cooking under nearly perfect August skies. Funds from the event went to the support of the continued Dots in Blue Water Haiti mission project.
Four miles to the south, on the other side of the Wabash River, the smell of food equally as inviting wafted from the Geneva Volunteer Fire Department where locals prepared barbecued chicken, hamburgers, brats and other goodies to feed the masses that came downtown to celebrate Geneva’s End of the Summer Festival.
Proceeds raised in Saturday’s Geneva event went towards the refurbishing of the downtown Veterans Memorial Park. Other activities included Kid’s Zone, maintained by young people from the local youth council, various drawings, food tents and other local attractions.
“The support of the community for this event has been outstanding,” said Geneva Chamber of Commerce executive director Pam Krause.
Krause said that she was not only impressed by the community’s support of renovating the Memorial Park, but residents were also supporting the needs in other communities. Food collection boxes stood outside of each entrance gate where canned food collection was taking place on behalf of food pantries in Monroe, Berne and Geneva.
“This problem, lack of food for families with need, is much larger than city boundaries,” said Krause. “When 4-H clubs collected food, they shared with all of the communities. We are proud of them for doing that and want to follow their direction in giving away our collections.”
Ty Boolman, one of the young leaders for the town youth council, said without shame on Saturday that involvement in volunteering for the community had helped rescue him from a time of problems in his life.
“I was a delinquent youth; I wanted to change my way. In the youth council, I found friends, caring leaders and the opportunity for more positive social experience,” said Boolman. “I got into trouble and got detentions. Once I got involved with this, I never missed a day of school and graduated last year.”
Marion Morgan, who helps support the youth council, said that Saturday’s Kid’s Zone consisted of such family fun activities as face painting, duck pond, snow cones and bounce house.
“We want kids to get to know each other better and share with each other,” said Morgan.
“I like helping the community a lot; we do that,” commented youth council member Erica Adair. “I like to be involved with kids and grown-ups. I have wanted to become more involved.”
Business woman Mary Fields referred to the event as, “excellent for the community.
“People who once lived here come home for this to have an opportunity to visit and talk to people sitting around here,” said Fields. “Everybody always has a good time. It is even better this year with all of this wonderful weather.”
In Berne, those offering barbecued food, waited anxiously at 7 p.m. for announcements of the judged results of three categories, chicken thighs, baby back ribs and pulled pork.
Top winners in each division included chicken thighs, Gregg Nussbaum and his team, Basting Away in Barbecuesville; baby back ribs, the Werst barbecue team of Isaac and Jackson Werst; pulled pork, Shannon Smitley and his team, Pork-Og-Raphy.
Gregg Moser, one of the chefs, said that he especially appreciated the camaraderie of all competitors, who really were united and helping each other to raise money for Dots in Blue Water and their mission efforts.
“I had a fabulous time in all of this,” said Moser. “No one was a loser; this was a great cause. This brings out a lot of faces from people in the community that we don’t see every day.”
“It’s really neat to see the community come together like this,” said Missy Smitley, who lauded the community’s support of the “Berne-Off.” “It’s neat to see the community come together like this. Hopefully, next year it will even be bigger.”
Rev. Chris Kruchkow, pastor of Cross Community Church, headed up the event.
“It was awesome, a fantastic turnout,” said Kruchkow. “We had lots of help from kids from the Dots program. Kids were here at 6:30 a.m. to help set up and another crew of kids came and willingly worked hard to assist in tearing things down.
“We had nine cookers involved; we sold out of every sample that we made,” added Kruchkow. “It turned out good; all of the profits will go to Dots in Blue Water.”
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