published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Rotarians mark golden year of spaghetti
SEBRING - For 50 years the Sebring Noon Rotary Club has been serving spaghetti dinners in a way to benefit variosu youth projects it helps fund in the city. This year's spaghetti dinner will from 4:30-7:30 p.m. today at the Highlands County Fairgrounds.
Bill Jernigan began in 1965 on the sauce committee under Jimmy Maxcy and started helping his father-in-law, Louis Alsmeyer, as the assistant general chairman, later taking on more responsibilities as Alsmeyer's health began to fail. In 1982 Bill's son, Larry, joined the family veterinarian practice, the Sebring club and the family's tradition of being involved in this fundraiser. Larry Jernigan now serves as Bill's assistant chairman as well as sauce committee chairman.
George Hensley, Ernie Breed and Ed Koch were all part of the original committees and they also continue to offer their help each year in making sure the event takes place with few problems.
That first spaghetti dinner profited the club about $600, which was used to improve Teen Town, now Highlands Little Theatre. About 800 dinners were sold the following year.
Since 1978, the profits have been nearly $248,000, and about 2,000 dinners are served each year.
Water is boiled in two 55-gallon drums and then about 400 pounds of dry spaghetti is cooked in eight 15-gallon pots. It takes about 700 pounds of lean meat and more than 100 gallons of tomato products and other condiments to make the spaghetti sauce.
Along with the spaghetti, about 24 cases of green beans flavored with smoked ham hocks and chopped fresh onions are simmered in four 20-gallon pots.
Cole slaw, rolls, butter and cookies will help round out the meal and are added just as the dinners are served.
For the first time, this year there will also be a "Drive-thru" table for take-out dinners. The "Drive-thru" table will be in front of the ticket booth.
Bill Jernigan, general chairman of the spaghetti dinner, said there will also be the usual four serving lines of Rotarians, with two at the entrance to the building allowing the "eat-in" customers to go right in to the tables set up inside. The two "take-out" lines are staffed behind the kitchen that plate the meals in fold-over trays.
The Rotarians, he said, normally serve about 1,100 "take-outs" and 500 "eat-in" dinners.
Sebring Middle School and Hill-Gustat Middle School bands will help sell tickets.
The stage bands will play a concert during the dinner.
Sebring Rotary Clubs have supported school bands since 1926.
Any food left over after the dinners are served is donated to the New Testament Mission and the Highlands County Jail.
Tickets for adults is $7, and $5 for children under 12.
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