FRYBURG — Fun, fun, fun, and mock turtle soup? Parishioners of St. John Catholic Church in Fryburg are gearing up for their 126th annual Homecoming this weekend. Everyone of all ages are welcome to travel to the church at 11319 Van Buren St. in Fryburg.
The festivities start on Saturday morning, Sept. 3, with the second annual 25-mile Mock Turtle Bike Ride. The ride and registration start at the church. Cyclists can register when they arrive on Saturday morning. The ride begins at 7:30 a.m. and travels to St. Lawrence in Rhine, Immaculate Conception in Botkins, and St. Joseph in Wapakoneta.
Also on Saturday, the seventh annual 5K Mock Turtle Walk/Run begins at 8 a.m. at the church and continues into Glacier Hills Campground. Awards and cash prizes will be handed out for the top three males and females in each age group. All age groups are welcome!
The rest of the activities start at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, at the church where there will be rides, games, free train ride, and plenty of food, including mock turtle and chicken noodle soup, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, brats, hot dogs, homemade pies and ice cream.
Thanks to the many sponsors, there will be hourly attendance raffle ticket drawings. Bingo starts at 5:30 p.m. along with the Kiddie tractor pull sign-up. The Craft Wheel, Chuck-A-Luck and Showdown Poker begin at 6 p.m. The 50/50 drawing and other raffles will be at 10:30 p.m. with the closing prayer and $1,000 grand prize raffle at 11 p.m.
Matt Dietz will provide the entertainment from 8 to 11 p.m.
Committee members Diane Davis and Cindy Koenig said people have come from Columbus to taste the mock turtle soup and some of the cyclists last year rode down from Lima, did the Bike Ride and then rode home.
Established in 1850, the church is 166 years old this year. The Homecoming was originally held on Labor Day to help raise funds for maintenance on the church. It was later changed to the Sunday before Labor Day by the Rev. Lawrence Tebbe (1938-1972) so that people could go fishing on Labor Day. Every year, Tebbe would paint a picture and give everyone who attended the Homecoming a chance to buy a raffle ticket to win the painting. This became a drawing card for the annual Fryburg Homecoming. The only way a person could acquire one of Tebbe’s paintings was either by winning one at the Homecoming, being a relative of Father, or a parishioner or friend who helped Father do one of his many projects. He never sold a painting. This year there will be one Tebbe and two Tom Cooper paintings raffled at the Homecoming.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.