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26th Sept 09 – Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale.

October 26, 2009

My exceedingly early train back from Cleveland at least got me back to Indiana in time for a mid-western cultural event; the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale. This fundraising event for the Mennonite Central Committee (a relief, service, and peace agency) has become particularly famous for the quilt auction, for which people come from out of state to bid on over 300 quilts of various sizes. The quilts are mostly made by the Amish in the area, with some going for astronomical prices. Watching the auction was made all the more exciting because friends of my family had been given a blank cheque to buy themselves a quilt as a wedding gift from rich relatives. They decided to stop bidding on one quilt that the hammer finally went down at $4200 but did get another of their favourites for $3000!

This was also another day of enjoyable eat-able treats that are unique to the region. My cousin’s husband was so enthusiastic about something called Port-A-Pit chicken, a kind of barbeque chicken, that I definitely had to have some of it. He searched it out at the showground, as it was such a regional dish that his move to a city 3 hours south had taken him away from his beloved chicken! I was not disappointed. In the first mouthful it had already lived up to the level of his commendations. It had a great, smoked-over-wood taste, with just the right level of salt and was falling off the bone. I am salivating thinking about it now! There were plenty of stalls where you could also buy sweet-treats and so I enjoyed an apple butter pastry, an apple fritter and some strawberry shortcake for good measure.

I wandered around with family amongst more stalls with wooden crafts and jewelery, some with information about where all the money would go that was being raised, amongst other milling people, hung about and heard country and western style hymns at the band stand and watched folk enjoying rides around by horse and cart in the autumn sun. I’m glad I made it back in time for this.

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