Ballots and Beef

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MONTROSE -- If roast beef were on the ballot in this part of Susquehanna County, it would win in a landslide.

The Fairdale United Methodist Church near Montrose was packed for its annual lunch-time Election Day dinner.

Organizers said the tradition dates back a half-century.

"Oh, this is fantastic.  This is a great turnout today.  I hope the election is good that they're turning out to vote too," said organizer Dave Hibbard.

A few hundred yards away, turnout has been good at this Jessup Township polling place, but the food up the street is even on the minds of people.

"Of course the roast beef is a big draw to get people out of their houses on election day. But the most imoprtant thing is to vote.  Around here many vote before or after they eat at the dinner," said Hibbard.

"Of course you've gotta vote first, you have to earn this dinner!" said Jean Pierce, of Montrose.

This has become like a reunion of sorts.

"This is a tradition, we all get together.  We're all friends and we all go vote and then we come eat.  It's the thing to do," said Pierce.

"A lot of them don't live here in our area and they come here for the dinner," said Lyle Oakes, of Fairdale.

There are voters from other parts of the county, all drawn by the delicious food.

On this election day, there is a buzz of some talking politics. But that's not the only topic.

"I think they discuss a little bit of everything.  Have to catch up on everything? Yeah cause you haven't seen them in a year," said Elaine Henry, of Montrose.

This tradition almost ended a few years ago. Organizers said the fundraiser had to be called off due to a lack of volunteers.  But now it's back and busy.

"We have some people from other churches in our own charge come to help too so it's great to see it come back to life," said Ron Smith, a volunteer.

It's clear this group is casting its vote for four more years, actually many more years of election day roast beef.