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Mark Simonson

December 1, 2012

South Kortright woman threw a heck of a party in 1940


Parker had begun his enormous task on Thursday. He started with 1,600 pounds of beef, placed in a tremendous baking pan. A big canopy over it kept the steam in, which liquefied and constantly basted the meat. Parker watched over the massive cooker until the party was over, “catching occasional cat naps in the open.”

When Saturday arrived, Parker declared that the meat was ready to serve at 4:45 p.m. He had brought in area butchers to carve the meat, including Joseph Ross of Oneonta, Don Colliton of Laurens and LeRoy Van Housen of Otego. They lopped off huge chunks of meat and sliced them to proper sizes. A corps of 12 professional waitresses made up thick sandwiches. Plates were then served with stuffing, pickles and potato chips. Soft drinks and ice cream were dispensed at other stands on the grounds.

By the end of the evening, in addition to the 1,600 pounds of barbecued beef, guests also consumed one barrel of relish, 6,000 rolls, 120 loaves of bread that went into the stuffing, 200 pounds of potato chips, 12,000 pickles, 250 24-bottle cases of soft drink, and 5,000 half-pint packs of ice cream.

“Nary a crumb nor a drop was left when the last guest departed early Sunday morning,” according to the Star.

Visitors to the McLean grounds enjoyed the sights, including the fine horses and the lake on the upper level. There was plenty more to do than feast on barbecued beef. A concert program and dancing were provided by a seven-piece band, directed by Joe Goldin. A movie show was given a few times. Later in the evening, there was a fireworks show that lasted for about an hour.

To promote the AWVS, Mrs. McLean invited several speakers to address the crowd. Many who attended the day had done some philanthropic work with the AWVS since it had been formed a year earlier, and this party aimed to generate more interest and volunteer work in the cause. The AWVS promoted democracy at a time before the U.S. entered World War II, at the same time some Axis power nations were working to subdue democracy.

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Mark Simonson

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