Jan 28, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
This Saturday, Feb. 1, the Open Door Baptist Church in New Woodstock will hold its 29th annual dinner and presentations for local outdoor enthusiasts. The event, which typically draws about 300 people, will be the same as it has every year with the exception of dinner: the previous homemade dishes made from wild game brought by attendees will not be allowed, and instead a pulled park barbecue will be served.
Open Door Pastor David DeLeon said this year’s slight change should not deter any people interested in attending, since the usual displays of trophies, firearms, fishing tackle and trapping supplies will be on there, and there will be flytying demonstrations and seminars, an antler scoring booth, door prizes and an evening presentation on deer and turkey hunting tips.
“We certainly encourage people to come even if there is no wild game dish to pass — we don’t think they’ll be disappointed,” DeLeon said. And the pulled pork dinner, which will be prepared on-site by a church member who is also a chef, is “gonna be real good.”
The annual “Sportsmen’s Dinner” — formerly called the “Wild Game Dinner” — has been a free event for nearly 30 years for hunters and non-hunters, Open Door Church members and non-members, who enjoy the outdoors, the fellowship and camaraderie of sharing their passion and also have a love of the Christian gospel in their lives.
“This is a sportsmen’s community … it’s a real draw,” DeLeon said. “The purpose of this is to reach out to sportsmen and women in the name of Jesus Christ.”
The locally known event gained regional notoriety last year when the Madison County Department of Health showed up about 15 minutes into the event and said serving homemade wild game dishes without a permit violated the county health code. They said all the food had to be taken out of the building and put back in everyone’s vehicles in order to avoid prosecution for a public health hazard.
Some of the attendees, and members of the general public who heard about it after the fact, were outraged at the “government intrusion,” especially after 28 years of holding the same dinner. The health department said it was simply doing its job protecting public health, and had never intervened before because it did not know about the event.
The health department’s concern of possible health hazards from serving wild game “makes sense to us,” DeLeon said. He said he is certain the county was not targeting the church or the event but simply enforcing county laws. So this year the church changed the event’s name and menu, received a permit to serve an on-site dinner and had the church’s water tested to ensure it could be used at a public event, DeLeon said.
“The county’s been very cooperative,” he said.
DeLeon said he’s not sure how the menu change may effect event turnout this year, and while some may be disappointed he knows many attendees come every year and “do not want to miss it.”
The 29th annual Sportsmen’s banquet starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Open Door Baptist Church, Route 13 and Delphi Road in New Woodstock. Attendees will have an hour for seminars and displays with dinner at 6 p.m. followed by guest speaker Steven Rockey who will speak about deer and turkey hunting tips, the gospel and have demonstrations and video footage. There will be door prize drawings for hunting and other outdoor items, with the grand prize of a gun cabinet made by Bill Vair.
The event is free and open to all.
For more information, call 662-3215 or 655-9848.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.