Missouri Amish Fish Fry Draws Hundreds

To help fund their schools and raise money for other purposes such as medical needs, some Amish communities hold fundraisers. The best-known and perhaps most common type is the benefit auction. There are other events as well – as in this story out of a small Missouri community, where we see a heavily-attended fish fry. Via the McDonald County Press:

The Amish community generally holds two fundraisers a year, but the global health pandemic put a damper on things last year.

On this Friday night, the donation-only all-you-can-eat fish fry and chicken dinner — complete with slaw, beans, hush puppies, drinks and desserts — draws a large crowd.

As an aside, hush puppies might be enough to draw me by themselves. I don’t think of them as an “Amish” food though, but if they were, I’d seriously consider including them here.

There are only about 100 Amish in this community, so finding outside funding is probably more necessary here than in larger communities. As it turns out, the attendance of this event (most of which I assume were English) dwarfed the size of the Amish community itself:

Miller consults with his wife, who asks the lady in the kitchen who rolled the plastic silverware.

She rolled 700 settings, but they ran out. She rolled a few more.

The Amish community in question is in McDonald County, near the peculiarly-named town of Rocky Comfort. The event has drawn guests from outside the area including from across state lines (the county borders two other states):

A large circus tent with tables and chairs provided shade for the hundreds who came. Miller said, in the past, people from northwest Arkansas, Barry County and Sarcoxie have made the trip. Usually, the majority of the crowd comes from a 30-mile radius.

There is actually an auction attached to this event as well:

As people finish their dinners and desserts, auctioneers from the Amish community take turns selling items ranging from homemade breads and cookies; pies, including French apple, coconut cream, cherry and chocolate; a puppy; hand-crafted yard art; an all-cedar doghouse; and everything from a drill set to used wagon wheels.

The community is small but growing:

Profits generally go to fund anything related to the school, Miller said. But recent growth in the last two years may dictate building another school as well, he said.

And it probably doesn’t hurt that there is homemade ice cream available:

As several in the crowd try to outbid each other, Miller’s Hercules powers the ice cream container to turn. Usually, a five-gallon container can be finished in about 35 minutes, depending on the right amount of salt and ice, he said.

During the fundraiser, Miller was overseeing the ninth container of homemade ice cream, which means the crowd consumed some 45 gallons that evening — or more.

The Miller in question happens to be Amish community member Roman Miller. Ice cream-making is his “usual job” for the settlement’s fundraisers, and I bet he’s good at it. Here’s a photo of his ice cream maker taken by Sally Carroll of the McDonald County Press. There are a few more photos at the article link.

Image: Sally Carroll/Special to the McDonald County Press

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    4 Comments

    1. Diane Herpich

      Annual? Dates? Location?

      I would love to come to the Fish Fry. I don’t see where the location is exactly, is it an annual thing & do they have it certain days, or a specific weekend?

    2. Pam Burke

      Ice cream memory

      The photo of the ice cream maker reminded me of about 8 years ago when my husband Don and I made one of our earliest trips to Jamesport, MO, and attended a large Amish school auction. We got some delicious ice cream from the concession stand there and saw the machine which was very similar to the one in your picture. I jokingly asked one of the Amish men making the ice cream if he would share his recipe. He walked over to a trash barrel and pulled out what looked like a half gallon milk carton bearing the name “Sara Ann Ice Cream Mix” and said he just poured that straight into the machine. We found the mix there at the local grocery store and have bought cartons a few times and come home to make our own “Amish ice cream”!

      1. OldKat

        Was it "Hit" or a "Miss"?

        A weak play on words; I know. Those are called Hit’N’Miss or Hit & Miss engines. No matter how well they are running they always sound like they are on their last leg.

        At Horse Progress Days in Leola, PA (Lancaster County) in 2017 they had about 4, maybe 5 of those single cylinder “Hit or Miss” engines just hooked up to ice cream makers. 4th of July weekend, so you know they had a ready market.

        They also had some hooked up to other things, like maybe a water pump; if I am remembering correctly. Besides the ice cream makers, I can’t recall why those old engines were there, unless maybe just to show how useful they really were.

    3. Pat Monti

      Missouri Amish Fish Fry Draws Hundreds

      Yum, I can taste it now! Agreed regarding the hush puppies. 🙂

      There are several of these annually in the Arthur-Arcola, IL area; mainly chicken. Some have auctions attached, and some don’t. There were fewer over the last year.

      The food’s always great, and a good time appears to be had by all. Some of the auction items are items both Amish and English can appreciate. Others can be quite interesting.