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Epiphany Church hosts 50th annual sausage feed

EPIPHANY -- As parishioners young and old prepare for their 50th anniversary Sausage Supper, the spirit of cooperation, giving and hard work continue through the generations at the Church of Epiphany.

The annual event is set for 3-7 p.m. Sunday at the Epiphany Church hall. Tickets for the meal, sold at the door, are $8 for ages 12 and older, $4 for ages 6-11 and $1 for preschool and younger. Carry-out meals and rings or bulk sausage are also available for purchase.

The current priest, the Rev. Paul Josten, like his predecessor the Rev. Michael Schneider, opts to continue the longstanding tradition which began in 1963 under the direction of the Rev. Henry Sikkes.

The menu includes the trademark homemade sausage, baked beans, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes, jello, kraut and for dessert, several recipes of cake. The feast is prepared by the approximately 80 parish families, following the tradition began by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Father Sikkes wanted ideas for a spring dinner to help cover expenses and asked parishioners Hank and Fern Kunkel for ideas. Fern was a parish officer that year. The Farmer parish held a sausage supper a couple of years previous but didn't continue the event. The Kunkels suggested Epiphany hold a sausage supper and Hank obtained the sausage recipe from a friend, R. Haiar.

The first year, 1963, eight donated hogs were butchered. In 1983, the Epiphany parish served 911 people, selling 1,400 pounds of homemade sausage. Only in 1984 was the supper, traditionally held the second Sunday of March, postponed a week. As fate would have it, only 487 people were served that year as bad weather prevailed.

The largest crowd served was a little over 1,200. The most hogs butchered was 37 in 2010, totaling 6,850 pounds of sausage.