Fryburg to kick off 121st festival

One of the oldest festivals in the area will celebrate its 121st year where they plan to sell their famous recipe soup along with bringing the community together to celebrate.
The Fryburg Homecoming Festival is set for this Sunday and includes raffles, games and, of course, their popular mock turtle soup.
“The mock turtle soup has been a tradition for years,” Fryburg Homecoming Festival co-organizer Connie Butcher said. “This is a special recipe that has been in Fryburg for a long time.”
The recipe came from the mother of the Rev. Lawrence Tebbe, former pastor of St. John Catholic Church, Fryburg, who was the priest at the church for approximately 34 years.
His mother’s soup became a tradition, which brings the whole community together.
Butcher has chaired the Turtle Soup Committee at the festival for the past 37 years, making sure just enough spices are put in and the soup tastes good for the consumers.
This year, she has been training Kerri Schneider to help carry on the tradition of making the perfect kettle of mock turtle soup.
“I watched Rita Behr years ago, and she trained me, and now I am training Kerri to carry on the tradition,” Butcher said.
At the family-oriented festival, the soup makers begin preparing the soup the day before by cutting up the onions and eggs, and soup makers are busy at work by 4 a.m. on Sunday morning cooking the meat and getting the four kettles of soup together to be ready by 4 p.m. for the festival.
“The mock turtle soup is always a hit,” Butcher said.
The soup is cooked over an open fire all day.
Also on the menu is chicken noodle soup, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, homemade pie and ice cream.
“We will have a variety of food,” Butcher said.
Other than the tasty food, there are raffles, games, activities and rides for the kids.
Fryburg Happy Farmers 4-H Club will also be participating in the event and helping out by hosting their own stand with activities.
The festival is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday and to last until 11 p.m., with the grand prize drawing of $1,000 to be awarded to one lucky ticket holder.
There will be three different raffles available to enter in at the festival, including the special painting raffle, Jill’s special raffle and the big raffle.
There were three painted pictures that were donated to the festival for the special painting raffle, and it includes one of Tebbe’s painting, a picture of St. John Catholic Church and the blue herron of Fryburg photo.
“Father Tebbe always painted and gave his paintings out,” Butcher said. “Someone donated one of his painting’s for the special raffle.”
Larger items, including woodcrafted items, were donated to Jill’s Special Raffle, which will be held at 10 p.m.
For the big raffle, items were donated by parishioners and non-parishioners, and four to five items will be raffled off each hour, with the grand prize being given away at 11 p.m.
“We put the names back in for the grand prize,” Butcher said. “This gives people more chances to win.”
Raffle tickets will be 6 tickets for $5.
Prior to the event, a 5K Mock Turtle Race will kick off the festival on Saturday, with registration beginning at 6:45 a.m.
“We started this last year,” Butcher said, “and it had a good outcome.”
The second-ever race begins at St. John Catholic Church with prayer beginning at 8 a.m., and the participants will run a 3.1-mile race, while going through Glacier Hills.
Last year, approximately 5,000 people attended the homecoming event and organizers are hoping for the same turnout.
“It was an awesome turnout,” Butcher said.
All of the proceeds raised from the Fryburg Homecoming Festival will go to funding for the St. John Catholic Church, Fryburg.
“This is how we keep the church going,” Butcher said.