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Presbyterian Church marks 25 years of fair workers' dinners

Ellsworth's Presbyterian Church is celebrating 25 years this year of providing dinners for Pierce County Fair workers. (Submitted photo)

Wanting to express their appreciation for bringing a family-friendly show to the Pierce County Fair each August, the Ellsworth Presbyterian Church has hosted a "Thank You" dinner for the fair workers for 25 years.

In 1989, the church had for 10 years been renting a booth in the exhibition building of the fair, witnessing to their neighbors in various ways. But then they told former Pastor Paul Martin they wanted to make their ministry more personal. Instead, they decided to reach out to a group of people who help make the fair what it is, but seldom receive any recognition or thanks--the carnival workers.

The many men and women who work for the carnival lead a hard life on the road for months, often working difficult hours. The Presbyterian Church's Evangelism Committee decided to invite the fair workers to a home-cooked dinner at the church. Thinking spaghetti would be nutritional and generally popular, they made gallons of it, along with fresh salads.

At the beginning of the week when the fair caravan arrived in Ellsworth, some church members brought printed invitations with directions to the church to hand to each worker as they chatted with them. However, in groups of two or three, only 12 fair workers arrived that first year. Several expressed a suspicion widespread among their fellow fair workers the meal was merely bait for subjects to be preached at.

Pastor and Mrs. Martin and several other church members sat with the guests, asking about their work and their lives, assuring them the church just wanted them to know Pierce Country citizens appreciated their work.

The menus for the yearly dinner have changed from the original spaghetti and salads, to turkey or roast beef dinners. Last year, there were 96 meals served. The Presbyterian Church women now have the meat, potatoes, gravy and rolls catered. But the salads, relishes and desserts are all made by the women of the church.

For more please read the July 30 print version of the Herald.