Sunday, November 16, 2014

Annual Turkey in a Barrel Dinner - Nov 15, 2014


Banner over main street

It's that time of year again, when the Mokelumne Hill historical society hosts the Turkey in a Barrel dinner. It is a huge deal in this little town and sells out every year even at $20 a ticket with about 300 people showing up. What is a turkey in a barrel? Well you take a big metal drum and build a fire in the bottom and when the coals are just right you hang 2 or 3 birds from the top and seal it up. It cooks in a couple of hours and it tastes wonderful! They pack into the city hall that the historical community fund helped restore a couple of years back, and go hog wild over the food!
They actually auction off 1/2 turkeys after dinner and I bought one!

One nice thing they do every year is that if you are a resident of Mokehill and over the age of 80, you get your dinner for free. They start the dinner with all the "elders" going first and it takes them a while to get through that part of it! If you are over 80 and home-bound, they will bring you a dinner that night to your house. Just a  nice touch that everyone accepts as normal but when you work in the city, and see no such community spirit, it is a nice change of pace.
Packing them in - this is about 15 mins before it started and they have people sitting in the basement that you can't see here.

Golden Hills Table - our neighbor is a past-president of the group that hosts it and still a big part of the community
After dinner there are 3 big things that happen - one is dessert which is once again baked by the community. My table was mainly folks over the age of 65 and you would think they would all be watching their diets.. but stay out of their way when the dessert trays start coming around! They were grabbing 2 or 3 each.. cookies and cake and cupcakes! One neighbor has such a sweet tooth that he downed 3 things including one that he made!

The 2nd big thing that happens after dinner is the raffle drawing for the 25 plus items that they have been donated to the dinner. People pay $1 for a ticket and wow, some of these folks bought 20, 40 or 100 tickets! One lady won 3 things and 1 table won about 5 things - I didn't win anything but thankfully 1 person at our table won a gift certificate to the ravioli shop in Jackson. 
Raffle guy... not sure his name but he knows everyone
Finally, it is time for the auction. What is also a very funny tradition to me is that there is a rum cake that is in the auction and it goes for at least $200, last night it was $275. I guess it is a tradition because it was the first thing that the auction started with a couple of years ago and it is made by this lady who was there wearing a faux cheetah print jacket! I bid on a painting but decided to drop out at $200, but did buy the 1/2 turkey to take home.
The high bid was for a radio that was from the 1930's. It was a floor model made of walnut and maple wood. It was from a building there in town and it actually worked but needed a tube or something.. not my style but it went for $450.

This is small town life and I like it but you have to be prepared to be out there and talking to people, which isn't always my style. They want to know everything about you and of course the question I get asked is, have you moved up yet? I have lived here for 5 years but will not be considered a resident until I move in full-time I guess. I really enjoy this place and hope that it will stay small but still continue to grow, which seems like a contradiction I know.


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