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Ox roast feeds Mount Parnell Lions Club piggy bank

August 02, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

ST. THOMAS, Pa. -- Many service organizations hold several annual fundraisers to generate money to be used toward community service.

The Mount Parnell Lions Club does just fine with one annual community boosting event per year, which was held this weekend.

The club held its 57th annual Ox Roast on Friday and Saturday, inviting hundreds to feast on thousands of pounds of roast beef and other dishes at the Detrich-Brechbill Post 612 American Legion grounds on U.S. 30.

"This is our one moneymaker of the year," co-chairman Ed Smith said. "Our club doesn't do broom sales or anything like that anymore. We work like slaves for two days, then we don't have to sell anything."

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The club did plenty of selling in the two-day event, from food and drinks to raffle tickets and games of chance. All funds go directly to the community, with the main emphasis put on improvement in sight and hearing in the St. Thomas area, including the Tuscarora School District.

"None of the money goes into dues or anything. All club members pay their own ways," Smith said. "This goes straight to the community."

The event began Friday afternoon, picked up Saturday at noon and was expected to last into darkness in front of live music from Guilford Station. It originally was planned for the first weekend in June, but drainage problems at the facility forced it to be postponed two months.

"We don't cancel," Smith said. "We just reschedule."

Club members hoped to go through the more than 2,000 pounds of meat that was cooked. But one of the other hot commodities is the leftover broth from the roast, which is drained from the commercial cooker and sold throughout the weekend.

"We'll be selling a lot of beef and broth today," Smith said Saturday. "This evening, people come in for override (discounts), and we'll sell it that way."

Harry Unger of Mercersburg, Pa., has seen his share of roasts as a member of Mount Parnell. The 85-year-old is the only living charter member of the club, which began in 1947.

"I don't think I missed too many (roasts), and they started in the '50s," Unger said. "It's just about the same. It just keeps getting bigger."

The first ox roast occurred in 1952 in Markes, Pa., northeast of Mercersburg Shortly after, the event outgrew the area and later moved to the American Legion grounds in St. Thomas.

"We have a good relationship with the American Legion, and that really helps us," Smith said. "We rent from them, but they provide a lot of useful services to us."

Roars of thunder and bolts of lightning sent some visitors for their vehicles, but many more were expected to turn up throughout the night.

Local businesses pitched in to help, including providing tents for some to escape from the sun and shield from potential rain. Other services were provided by volunteers, mostly the friends and families of Lions Club members, as well as members of St. Thomas Fire and Rescue.

There are 48 members in the club, secretary Frank Newman said.

"We're always looking for a few good men," said Newman, 73, of Chambersburg, Pa.

"Men and women," Smith added.

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