Playing in the rain

Food, parade and games at the Hersey Heritage Days

HERSEY — Chicken and ribs could be smelled from the United Methodist Church as far as the closed off Main Street in Hersey during the Hersey Heritage Days festival.

Main Street was closed for the annual parade, while workers across town set up a bounce house, pony rides, a petting zoo and multiple games at the church.

“The Hersey Heritage Days have been going on for a while, but we’ve been doing this chicken barbecue for five years,” David Johnson, of the United Methodist Church said. “This is something the church puts on to go along with Heritage Days. The money goes toward various things that need to be done here at the church.”

Though the chicken barbecue has been held once a year for the past five years, Johnson said this year the church worked with something new.

“We are having ribs this year along with chicken,” Johnson said. “Every year gets better. We make really good chicken here, it’s roasted just right. It’s sort of a fun picnic day for everybody. A lot of people love it and I’m glad to do this. I do it with a cheerful heart.”

The chicken and ribs were put on the grills for roughly an hour and half before being moved to roasters inside the church, said Dewane White, one of the cooks.

“Cooking got started at 9 a.m. It’s a bit of work,” White said, referring to continuous transfer of large amounts of food. “But it’s worth it.”

White, and fellow cook Guy Lewis stood in the rain to make sure the chicken and ribs were cooked just right for people who would eat at the church for lunch.

“It’s very chaotic,” said Sarah Turner, event coordinator for the heritage days. “With the weather this morning, we had a lot of cancellations for the parade. With convertibles, I understand parade participants not wanting to be out in the rain.”

Village President, John Calabrese, who is running for re-election against Robin Marvel said he wished there were more vehicles and noises, but liked seeing people who aren’t afraid of the rain come out. Kim and Morgan Horvath agreed the rain put a slight damper on their day. Normally, they would have a bake sale to benefit Morgan’s dance competitions, but had to hold off due to the weather, they said.At the church, children unafraid of getting wet ran through an obstacle course, and played a sponge toss game, where one person would stick their head through a wooden Spongebob cutout and another person would through a wet sponge at the cutout.

“This is an average turnout, but we will get more people as the day goes on,” said Colleen Grenada as she worked the prize table for the kids’ games. “My favorite game is the sponge toss, it’s one of the biggest hits, so is the obstacle course.”

As she watched children play in the rain, while more people streamed to the church, Turner was happy with how the day came together.

“This is great,” she said. “This is why we have a Hersey Days, to bring people together and celebrate the family atmosphere we have here in town.”