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DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME

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Schmeckfest may be postponed, but it at least smelled like the popular festival as drive-up food orders were filled last weekend.

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    Rodney Waltner and Cal Graber work with pork as they join other volunteers in making Schmeckfest sausage last Friday, March 20. Sausage and a variety of baked goods were sold to people who picked up the items in their vehicles outside the maintenance building at Freeman Academy.

It certainly smelled like Schmeckfest outside the maintenance building on the Freeman Academy campus last Friday and Saturday as the unmistakable aroma of smoked sausage permeated the air. Inside, it looked like Schmeckfest, too, as volunteers prepared and packaged and sold sausage and other baked goods like noodles, poppy seed rolls and kuchen.

But that’s where any sense of normalcy ended.

The coronavirus threat and the subsequent postponement of Schmeckfest — which was to be held March 20-21 and 27-28 — has put everything on hold indefinitely, including the traditional demonstrations, meal, programming and the production of “Matilda the Musical.”

But when school and festival officials got creative with food sales, at least a small element of Schmeckfest as scheduled has remained in place. From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. last Friday and Saturday, the public was invited to pull up in their vehicles and purchase items from the maintenance building drive-up style. Orders could also be placed in advance at schmeckfest.com.

That will be the case again this coming Friday and Saturday, although Kathy Kleinsasser, chair of the Freeman Academy Auxiliary Executive Committee that oversees Schmeckfest, said they will have to make some changes to how the food is delivered to comply with social distancing guidelines.

“Right now, we’re going to go ahead with it, but we’re going to have to change how we do it,” she told the Courier Tuesday morning. “We’re going to take a few more precautions with how we get them the food and greet them in the car.”

As for last weekend’s sales, Kleinsasser said they were “way above what we expected,” with fruit pockets, poppy seed rolls and gashtel selling particularly well.

“It was just constant; there were cars lined up continuously from 1 to 5,” she said. “At times we weren’t very efficient with filling the orders, but this was something new. It was better on Saturday; we were getting the hang of it.”

While the maintenance building itself was closed to the public, inside on Friday, about a dozen volunteers were busy making and packaging the sausage (that number was about half that on Saturday). Meanwhile, two others were set up at cash registers and another half dozen or so were busy packaging the orders and/or running them to the vehicles lined up outside.

“The sales were very good,” Kleinsasser said. “They were actually comparable to what would ordinarily be a good Saturday.”

Most of the food items that were sold last weekend will be available again this Friday and Saturday; those who would still like to donate baked goods may do so by contacting Kleinsasser at 925-7952 or Amy Waltner at 648-3772.

Any changes or updates will be posted at both schmeckfest.com and freemansd.com.

HERITAGE HALL MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES

As was the case last weekend, Heritage Hall Museum and Archives will be open this weekend by appointment only. That includes the “Voices of Conscience: Peace witness in the Great War” exhibit on display at the Bethel Church.

Those who would like to visit the museum and/or display may make an appointment by calling 925-7545.