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Pork, promises kick off '09

January 01, 2009|By CHRIS CARTER

POND BANK, Pa. -- Quit smoking, lose weight, save money.

People discussed different New Year's resolutions Thursday at the Pond Bank Community Center. But one thing they all resolved to do was feast on pork and sauerkraut to kick off 2009.

Nearly 600 attended the 12th New Year's Day Pork and Sauerkraut Dinner hosted by White Rock Youth and Seniors Activities.

The dinner ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but dozens filled the center before and after to make certain they got their fill of the food served according to the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

"That's why this is always a success. People really like the food," said Fred Rock, whose family joined together to put on the event. "We had a really good day, one of the better ones we've had since we've done the thing."

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Little was left after those from Chambersburg, Pa., and surrounding areas finally filtered out of the community center. Many even took a dish to go, choosing to eat dinner while watching Penn State take on USC in the Rose Bowl hours later.

"That's my plan," said Ben Boone, 47, of Shippensburg, Pa. "I usually come in, have a seat and enjoy the dinner with my family. This year, we decided that we'd save it to eat while watching the game."

But the majority hung around the center to have their dinner, which included a hefty serving of mashed potatoes and gravy to go with chocolate cake. The distinct aroma of the meal could be smelled even before walking through the door.

"A lot of people don't like the smell, so they don't even try it," said Gabby Dorsey of Marion, Pa. "My kids are like that. But one of these days, I think they'll break down and have some. ... Even if I have to make them."

As if the food wasn't enough to bring people out into the freezing temperatures, they had the encouragement of superstition. The German dish is served traditionally on New Year's because pigs are considered good luck charms and cabbage leaves are symbolic of money. Some were just looking for a change in fortune to start the new year.

"I've heard that, but I don't know," Dorsey said. "It can't hurt, though."

Then there's the good karma of it all because proceeds benefit community organizations, including the Pond Bank Mennonite Church and White Rock Youth and Seniors.

"We started so we could pay for (traffic) lights in town," Rock said. "We had one or two successful dinners, so we kept up with it. It's a good way to raise money for the community."

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