“We present our inaugural Moorhead Presbyterian Sausage Fest, “says Pastor Robert Drake who leads the First Presbyterian Church in Moorhead. The event will take place at the church on Saturday, October 2 from 2-8 PM.
As the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the church dinner circuit, Drake and his congregation took advantage of the pause to reimagine how the church might look in a new century. Drake explained, “The church of the 21st century won’t look like the church of the 20th century. Church dinners of the 21st century won’t look like church dinners in the 20th century. Drake noted that First Presbyterian hosted a February cherry pie supper for eighty-three years which provided funds to be used for financial support of community projects and organizations. Making use of extra planning time created by the cessation of large group gatherings in 2020, the pastor and church leaders pondered whether their traditional fund-raising activities could or should look different when annual fundraisers resumed.
Two members of First Presbyterian’s congregation attended a church sausage festival in the Alexandria area and shared positive reviews of the event with Pastor Drake and the congregation. Drake cheerfully admits, “We stole their idea!” October 2nd will see the results of their planning come to life in a large tent located on what is normally utilized as the church’s soccer field and the surrounding grounds.
Drake emphasized his congregation’s support for local businesses whose products and services will be featured during the festivities. NDSU’s Meat Science Department, Wurst Bier Hall, Perfectly Nuts, 99 Bottles and Swing Barrel Brewing Company will provide food and beverages to include sausage, sauerkraut, German wine and beer, White Claw, pop and many other goodies.
Games Galore Party Rental will provide entertainment options for children and a vendor area, including a farm market and crafts, will also be located on the grounds. No Oktoberfest-themed celebration would be complete without music. The Johnson 5 will play in the afternoon and Sounding Fathers will provide evening entertainment. Dinner tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Beer is $5. Adult activities will include traditional Hammerschlagen and Stein-holding competitions.
Why did First Presbyterian sponsor cherry pie suppers and, now, Sausage Fest? The congregation has always provided financial support for community activities in their more than 100-year history. They sponsored and continue to coordinate a project for the Moorhead Farmers’ Food Market which permits consumers to use their USDA-issued SNAP cards for produce purchases. The congregation maintains a large garden to provide produce for local agencies providing meals for those in need. Churches United for the Homeless receives First Presbyterian’s support. Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) sponsors national activities for help with disasters and other large-scale causes thanks to donations from local congregations.
Pastor Drake explained his congregation’s efforts to maintain their grounds with a focus on providing a recreational space for members and for residents of apartment complexes in their area. The soccer field, a half-court basketball space which is under construction, a large playground swing/slide set and a soccer field provide opportunities for neighborhood youth to be active in a safe setting close to their homes. Picnic tables provide a spot for parents to visit while children play and a memorial garden provides a quiet space.
Pastor Drake concluded, “It’s a 21st century church dinner sponsored by a 21st century church. Come check us out.”
First Presbyterian Church
2900 5th Street South