Otsego United Methodist Church offers 68th harvest meals

An Otsego tradition will turn 68 this year, as the 68th Annual Harvest Mission Festival returns to the Otsego United Methodist Church.

The festival, Wednesday, Nov. 5, includes a lunch served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the famous Harvest Dinner served from 4:15-7:15 p.m. (tickets and reservations are needed for the dinner) and a Bazaar and Bakeshop, including Quality Nuts being sold throughout the day, beginning at 7 a.m.

The festival funds church mission causes.

Lunch is $7 and dinner is $10 for adults, $5 for youth, and $2 for children. Dinner reservations are required for one of the three servings at 4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. by calling the church office at (269) 694-2939.

Specifically, the proceeds from the nut sales will support the church’s camping ministry and the bazaar and bake shop will support the United Methodist Women organization.

Volunteers are needed, so anyone interested can call the church office at (269) 694-2939 or speak with meals coordinators Cindy Flickinger, Josie Pape or Linda Childress.

The Harvest Dinner began in 1946, the creation of a woman named Dorothy Brown. Dorothy’s husband, Freeman Brown, was born in Otsego in 1902 and was active in the Otsego United Methodist Church as a child, a youth and a young adult.  Freeman and Dorothy were married in 1934. Freeman Brown completed medical school in 1940 and returned to Otsego, where he and Dorothy were active in the church for the next 30 years. Dorothy came up with the idea of the Harvest Dinner and spearheaded the then “younger women” to take charge and make this a community event and they did. The first menu included roast chicken, ham, Swedish meatballs, fresh shrimp, pickled herring, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, salads, rolls and drinks plus dessert. It could all be had for the price of $1.50.

Dorothy Brown had a long and active life, and died in 2008 at the age of 98. Her son Jim now lives in Grand Rapids and is one of those who travels to the Harvest Dinner each year.

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