by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Every year since 1895, the parishioners of St. Gall have thrown the community a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. This year is no exception. The St. Gall Turkey Dinner will be held Sunday, March 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year is the 100th year of the parish’s founding, so the festivities will have an historical bent. And as usual, hundreds of parishioners lend their help.
With records dating back to 1895 collected in a little red book, replete with clippings from the Elburn Herald, the parish can look back and see how the dinner evolved. From a chicken dinner with a jazz band and card games to a year labeled “The Grand Ball in the Emerald Hall,” the festivities often took place in the Elburn Opera House.
This year it will take hundreds of parishioners to get ready for the event and prepare the entirely homemade meal.
“Everything starts Friday,” said Carrie Walter, co-chairman of the event. “Women come in and peel and boil the potatoes. It’s all made from scratch.”
Six hundred and fifty pounds of potatoes are peeled and mashed. Eighteen hundred pounds of turkey are prepped, and 250 pounds of stuffing is made.
“A crew takes the giblets and necks out of the turkeys, boil and chop them to make stuffing. Ninety people roast the turkeys. The parishioners cook them in their own kitchens,” Walter said.
People donate the pies and make the gravy. Any food that is not sold is donated to the Hesed House.
Meals will be served in Parish Hall, and carry-outs are available from Legion Hall.
Photos of parishioners working at past dinners will be displayed, along with photos currently hanging in Village Hall of the original church.
In order to celebrate the Centennial, every 100th meal ticket sold at Parish Hall is free.