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Bull & Oyster Roast a feast for charities

February 22, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown Rotary Club's fundraising feast draws such a flood of people, it takes an ARCC to hold them.

Hagerstown Community College's Athletic Recreation & Community Center was brimming with close to 850 people Sunday for the annual Rotary Bull & Oyster Roast.

Art Callaham, Hagerstown Rotary's president, said last year's roast raised about $22,000.

Tickets were $40 in advance and $45 at the door, giving visitors entree to an extensive smorgasbord of meat, seafood, soup, side dishes, drinks and desserts.

Chris Jefferies, who owned the former Red Horse Steak House & Anvil Bar, said more people attended than expected, and they were running out of certain dishes.

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Jefferies was in charge of the kitchen at Sunday's event and had about 10 helpers. Together, they prepared enough pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, pit beef, chicken fajitas and more to keep hundreds of people happy.

Wayne Lafferty had his hands on his stomach and a smile on his face as he briefly walked away from his table. He described himself not as "stuffed," but "comfortable."

"The sausage was excellent," he said.

The line at the B.P. Lesky Distributing booth was steady as Gregg Delauney poured cups and pitchers of Yuengling and Coors Light.

Delauney said he brought 14 kegs.

Disc jockey Lou Scally filled the room with music as people ate, talked and played games of chance.

Midway through the roast, 22 tip jars had been sold; the club's goal was to sell 53.

Neal Glessner, Hagerstown Rotary's immediate past president and this year's event chairman, said he was nervous when it looked like this year's event was slow in coming together.

Then, "ticket sales went like gangbusters," ensuring a good crowd for the roast's fifth year, he said.

Glessner, the president of Glessner Alarm & Communications in Hagerstown, said Hagerstown Rotary is made up of executive-level people from local businesses and nonprofit organizations who are used to seeing big projects through to the end.

Glessner said he wasn't sure if this year's event would do well during bad economic times, but Hagerstown Rotary advertised extensively through ads donated by The Herald-Mail, NBC25 and Antietam Cable Television.

B.P. Lesky Distributing employees passed along information to customers on their routes.

Another 400 invitations went out through the Facebook social networking Web site, Glessner said.

The bull roast is the largest of three fundraising events Hagerstown Rotary holds each year.

Callaham said all net proceeds from those events go to local charities and causes, such as Girls Inc., the YMCA, Food Resources, W House and Wells House.

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