Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota’s church dinner season underway August 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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TIS THE SEASON of church dinners.

Diners dish up at last year's fall dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown.

Diners dish up at the 2011 dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown.

Although I’ve never partaken in the one at The Church of the Nativity in Cleveland, I’ve attended plenty of others in southern Minnesota. Church dinner food is typically homemade, the draw for me, along with the fellowship.

If I wasn’t already busy this Sunday, August 4, I’d head west to Cleveland, which sits along State Highway 99 six miles east of St. Peter, to this Catholic church dinner and festival.

The beautiful chicken dinner sign I spotted along Minnesota Highway 99 on the edge of Cleveland.

The beautiful chicken dinner sign I spotted along Minnesota Highway 99 on the edge of Cleveland.

Since I can’t review the food, I’ll award these dinner promoters five stars for creative and eye-catching roadside signage.

To learn more about the dinner, I checked out the church website (click here) where the meal is tagged as “Men’s Chicken Dinner & Parish Festival.” Now I’m certain women and children are welcome. I assume the “men’s dinner” means the men are cooking the advertised “fabulous broasted chicken.”

In addition, baked potatoes, creamy cucumbers, baked beans, pie and beverages will be served. Homemade pie. The best.

Food will be served from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Mass starts at 8:30 a.m.

My meal at last year's Trinity dinner, minus the bread and cranberries. I had cake for dessert, too.

My food plated at the annual Trinity North Morristown church dinner.

Besides food, the festival offers your usual games, beer garden (this was an initial surprise for me, a Lutheran, to discover beer at a church event) and silent auction. The Church of the Nativity also has an antique car show and a coffee bar, neither of which I’ve seen at a parish fest.

Next year this event is going on my list of must-attend church festivals.

FYI: I’d recommend attending these three church dinners:

Click here to read about the Veseli Ho-Down, Most Holy Trinity’s annual parish festival and dinner. This event is held in late August. Great food, music, games and more.

Click here to read about the annual church dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, rural North Morristown. The dinner is served in mid-October in the church basement. Excellent, excellent food.

Click here to read about the Strawberry Festival held each June at Moland Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon.

Also, check out the website, Church Cuisine of Minnesota, for stories and photos of other church dinners.

HAVE YOU ATTENDED an outstanding church dinner and/or festival? if so please share in a comment to this post.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “Minnesota’s church dinner season underway”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Ah yes…..the traditional Catholic Church Fall Festivals. Growing up they were a “must do” and most times included rides for the kids (very simple!), bingo and Booya. The stew is more typically found in and around the Twin Cities, as I haven’t come across anyone here familiar with the dish.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      No Booya around here, which is exactly what?

      I, too, love the simplicity of the games for kids.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Booya is a stew/thick soup of Belgian, Polish origin. Check you e-mail for recipe that’s similar to what I’m familiar with….way too long to post here.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Thanks, Doreen. Got it. My sister-in-law made it once, with beets, now that I remember.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Ah, yes. That is a good addition, too! As cool as it is right now, such a dish is quite appealing!!!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I agree. But I love this kind of “good sleeping” weather. Perfect, in my opinion.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    A beer garden???? Wow. That is kind of crazy in my humble opinion!!! Haven’t been to a church dinner for awhile—seems like we are always missing them but you are correct—-really great food makes its appearance at these events!!! Yummmmy.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Ah, Beth Ann, you obviously have not been to a Catholic church festival in Minnesota. Beer flows.

  3. Jackie Says:

    I have never been to a church dinner (just not something our church does) Although back in the day our church did do a Thanksgiving meal which was glorius. Our church has just gotten too big. Around here (rochester) the dinners are very popular at the Lutheran churches in the small towns surrounding Rochester. My mom and Dad are big into attending these meals especially the lutefisk dinners, ugh…..thank goodness grandma always made us kids meatballs 🙂 The plate you featured made my mouth water, yum yum!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, Jackie, you must attend a church dinner. You would everything about this meal/event. I had lutefisk once and that was once enough for me. 🙂

  4. Your last photo looks like Thanksgiving dinner on a plate – YUM!!! Happy Friday:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That was one delicious meal. The folks at Trinity North Morristown definitely know how to cook.

  5. Kristen K Says:

    I go to a Baptist church, and this type of church dinner is unfamiliar to me. We do have plenty of potlucks (or, as they were once referred to, “pot blessings”) and an occasional picnic or celebratory dinner. (Definitely no beer at Baptist dinners, at least not my church. ;))

    Our last church dinner was a farewell just a week ago for our Worship Pastor and his family. Dominos pizza and mac & cheese were served, as they are favorites of the family! Everyone was asked to bring desserts, and there was a great variety. We had a great time sharing memories. It was sad to see them go!

    Maybe someday I’ll check out a Catholic or Lutheran church dinner… Thanks for highlighting them!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I didn’t grow up with church dinners and only started attending them in recent years. I’ve always felt welcome, no matter the denomination. I’m Lutheran. I’d encourage you to attend one in your area. I believe Litomysl (sp) south of Owatonna just had one or is having one soon.

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    I love church dinners. Our church has one a month and everyone’s asked to either bring a bottle of wine or a plate of food to share (clearly we’re not Lutheran with all that wine on offer!) I find these nights are the best way to get to know people as in the normal Sunday service it’s so easy to just rush off afterwards without having done the ‘meet and greet’ xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      What a great idea to have monthly potlucks (food to share). We have the occasional potluck at our church, reserved for special events. And wine? I think Jesus would have approved of that.

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