Hot Weather for a Cool Tradition

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MCCLURE -- The lunch line is a long one at the McClure Bean Soup Festival in Snyder County.

With this week's hot weather, one would think these people lined up for ice cream. But actually, they are waiting for bowls of hot bean soup!

"It's not too bad. Until I eat the soup, then I'll get hot. It doesn't matter because I love the soup," Kathaleen Mitchell said.

The McClure Bean Soup Festival is in its 122nd year. The tradition dates back to the Civil War. Organizers say the festival is meant to celebrate the cold weather food, but this year, mother nature had a different idea.

"The soup has to cook at 160 degrees or higher so it's actually constantly boiling. Right now I have four furnaces going next to each other. If you stand in between them you can get a natural sauna," Cindy Tyson said.

It's about 90 degrees outside so just imagine how hot it is inside for the people making the soup. Standing next to this hot wood fire furnace, mixing the soup for about three hours at a time.

"You sweat it all off, so to speak, and work hard at it," Tyson said.

People did not seem to mind eating soup in 90-degree weather. Dennis Krick was on his second bowl.

"The soup is hot, too! But you're still here! I won't be for long, I'm going home to the air conditioning," Krick said.

Some folks had a plan to beat the heat. These ladies brought coolers.

"We're just taking it home because it's too hot to be sitting out here under this roof. We like to have the cool air," Linda Keister said.

The McClure Bean Soup Festival goes until Saturday. Soup is served at noon each day.