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.