FRYBURG – The 131st Fryburg Homecoming Festival, coming up Sunday, Sept. 5, from 4 to 11 p.m., reflects many decades of parishioner dedication to the preservation of the parish’s 170-year-old church and the memory of long-time pastor the Rev. Lawrence Tebbe. For the more athletic, the 12th annual Mock Turtle 5K Run/Walk and the seventh annual bicycle race is held on the Saturday before the festival.
Complete information can be found on their Facebook page “Fryburg Homecoming.”
Fryburg committee chair Cindy Hoenig said the homecoming festival has everything from kids rides to a whole hog raffle plus great food ranging from their famous mock turtle soup to various sandwiches, pies and ice cream. But more importantly, they continue to honor the memories and traditions of the long-running event.
She said this event is a true homecoming affair.
“Even the music, two-man acoustic band Thick and Thin, provides a gentle sound while community members visit,” she said.
For the youngsters, besides the usual mechanical rides, there is a kids tractor pull competition, being done by Stewart Eppers and sponsored by Stephine and Jay Fisher. The free train rides are sponsored by Bob and Patty Harrod.
Activities adults enjoy will include Texas Hold ‘Em, Chuck A Luck Bingo, and a fancy stand where the winners can get various items donated by many parish members. The Whole Hog raffle, another tradition for the Fryburg fest, was sponsored by the John Limbert family.
The most popular fundraising activity will be an auction for a signed painting and handmade grotto, both created by Tebbe. The painting is called “The Sower” and was donated by the Al and Polly Steinke family.
Koenig said Tebbe was known for his paintings, which he often gave to people for helping with the church,” she explained. “The paintings, which were never sold by Father Tebbe, are prized pearls of the community, passed on in families from one generation to the next.”
“The wooden grotto, also created by Father Tebbe, holds a Virgin Mary statue and a place to hang your rosary,”she added. It was donated by Barbara Stinebaugh Haehn from the Jean Cogan Stinebaugh estate. “Father tried to make one for every family in the parish.”
Koenig explained these are all examples of the extreme generosity of the parishioners. “That’s why the festival has always been so successful,” she said. “Everybody just gives so much to support the maintenance of our church.”
During Tebbe’s 34 year tenure with the parish, from 1938 to 1972, she said he was a great influence on things both big and small.
For example, Koenig said he was the one who helped start the tradition of mock turtle soup at the festival.
“Originally, we would have fried chicken for sale, but it was expensive!” she said. “Instead, in 1945, Father Tebbe suggested turtle soup. When it was pointed out it would take a whole lot of turtles to make soup for a large event, Father Tebbe not only suggested mock turtle soup but also gave them a copy of his mother’s recipe for that local favorite.”
Tebbe was born in nearby McCartyville.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.