Big crowd flocks to ox roast

September 03, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

QUINCY, Pa. - The notion of Americana was alive and well Monday in Quincy when thousands of people came to the community center to play bingo, listen to gospel and bluegrass music, enter raffles and partake in the main course, ox.

An ox burger set celebration-goers back $2, while the full dinner cost $7.50. At a mid-afternoon check, Capt. Terry Stackhouse of the Mont Alto (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department estimated 4,000 to 6,000 people had come Monday for the last day of the 68th annual weekend celebration.

Nancy Cook of Fayetteville, Pa., came for the food and music, and also perused vendors' tables, where one could buy anything from clothes to weapons to antiques.


"Our parents used to bring us here. It's almost like a tradition," Cook said. She handed over enough cash for a burger and fries. "It's not Labor Day unless you have an ox burger. It's like Thanksgiving and turkey."

Harry Phiel, 85, cooked ox for 50 years, but is now "the boss." He said around 3,500 pounds of ox would be eaten by the end of the festival. All the meat was steamed in two large steel vats.

Ben Stevenson, 8, sat on the top row of a set of bleachers, eating ice cream. A splash of freckles across his face, Ben said he enjoys coming to the festival, and views himself lucky because he lives across the street from the community center - meaning he and his friends have a good view of the fireworks, but don't need to fight traffic.

Jean and Bill Bartmess, square dancers with the Whirly Bird club, walked around the grounds after dancing with about two dozen other couples onstage.

They agreed the festival offered a glimpse of old-fashioned America. Scenery rounded out that glimpse. A pristine red barn and four black-and-white Holsteins grazed beside an orchard behind the parking area.

"It seems like an old home week for a lot of people," Bill Bartmess said.

Other food available included kettle corn, sausage, ice cream and pizza.

Proceeds benefit Quincy streetlights and community activities.

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