Whitehall Ox Roast this Saturday

One of Whitehall’s most beloved culinary events will be held this Saturday.

The United Methodist Church will host its 43rd annual Ox Roast beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the church on Greenmount Cemetery Lane.

The event, which has been known to attract a few hundred hungry diners, includes a flea market, rummage sale, bake shop, auction, and of course the pit-roasted beef that gives the event its name.

“It’s the church’s largest fundraiser and its biggest community event,” said Elaine Jones, a member of the Ox Roast committee.

Planning a roast for a couple of hundred hungry guests takes lots of planning.

This year’s event will begin at 10 a.m. with the opening of the flea market.

The flea market will feature a variety of rummage sale items, including used clothing, household utensils, toys, collectibles and Rata Cutlery.

Attendees will also have the chance to bid on antiques, gift certificates to local businesses and a variety of other items during the annual auction, which begins at 1 p.m.

Nicholas Deutsch, owner of Nicholas Auctions will serve as auctioneer and guests can begin previewing items as soon as they arrive.

The highlight of the day, the actual roast, will be served beginning at noon and will continue until 6 p.m. or sold out, whichever comes first. Takeouts will be available beginning at 11 a.m.

Organizers typically begin planning the event months in advance. They determine how much meat to order, how many ears of corn to buy, and where to get firewood. And that’s just the meal. They also collect donations for the flea market and auction.

Besides members of the church, local Boy and Girl Scouts and a handful of honor students from Whitehall High School volunteer their time during the event.

The first Ox Roast was exactly that, an ox roast. Volunteers would arrive the day before the event and cook an entire roast through the night and into the next day. But after a number of years, the decision was made to purchase several hundred pounds of individual roasts.

This year’s menu will include ox, which is cooked over a wood fired grilling pit, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, cole slaw, rolls and dessert.

A snack shop, featuring drinks and food will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and there will also be an assortment of baked goods available for purchase.

Admission to the event is free but the cost of dinner is $11 for adults and take-outs; $5 for children younger than 12.

Anyone who would like to volunteer their time to help during the events is encouraged to call the church at 499-0851.

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