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Quincy Ox Roast lacks Ox

September 05, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, Pa. - While there is no ox at the 70th annual Quincy Ox Roast, a few of the helpers remember when an ox was roasted on a spit over an open fire.

From 1936 to 1964, the event was held in nearby Benedict's Woods. It now is at the Quincy Community Center.

A major fund-raiser for the center, the ox roast draws 6,000 to 7,000 people over four days, according to board member Larry Forsythe of Waynesboro, Pa. He estimated that $65,000 to $70,000 is taken in before expenses.

Molly Gossert has been helping with the ox roast since the early 1950s, when she was 10 years old, she said. She started out washing dishes with her grandmother.

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"We carried the water and boiled it, and washed the dishes in washtubs," she said.

Gossert's husband, Donnie, is responsible for roasting the 2,800 pounds of boneless beef used to make sliced beef, beef noodle soup and ox burgers.

The broth from the beef is used to cook potatoes, make gravy and moisten filling for the sit-down, family-style meal served on Labor Day, Molly Gossert said.

She said that the fifth generation of her family now helps with the ox roast.

"This is just what we do every Labor Day weekend," she said. "I wouldn't consider anything else."

Students from VisionQuest helped to clean up the grounds Saturday morning, she added, and will continue to help out over the course of the event.

Betty Mentzer of Mont Alto, Pa., is a member of the kitchen committee. She said she started helping with the event in the 1960s when her friend, who ran the dining room, needed her help waiting on tables.

"I've been here ever since," Mentzer said.

Another kitchen worker, Joe Geesaman of Shippensburg, Pa., said that his father and three other men started the ox roast in 1934 to pay for streetlights for the community. That expense still is covered by proceeds from the ox roast, along with the maintenance of the midget football field and two Little League fields, as well as supporting local Scout troops and other worthy causes.

"I think I was always here," Geesaman said when asked how long he was been participating. "Maybe 60 years - longer than that, probably."

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