The Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale was held this past weekend at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.Since their first sale in 1968, they have been raising funds to support the Mennonite Central Committee, a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches.
One of the sale’s highlights is its famous apple fritters. Sold by Yellow Creek Mennonite Church, the fritters undergo a multi-step process.
“First is peeling, then pouring, slicing, batter, and then they’re fried, drained, sugared, and bagged,” Deanna King, relief sale volunteer, said.
Shifts of 17 church members rotate to keep the assembly line moving. A specific, time-honed recipe includes a few crucial factors.
“The sugar is powdered sugar and regular granulated sugar, half and half, mixed and then sifted,” she said. “So you can get the full sugar overdose.”
The apple fritters were popular among interview subjects.
“Maddie Bollinger called me twice in the span of like 20 minutes,” said Sarah Miller, sophomore music education major. “Both times she called me, I was waiting in line for the apple fritter booth. I think that’s really telling of a lot of the people’s intentions in the community.”
Another relief sale highlight is an abundance of reasonably priced plants.
“The cheapest plants that you can ever get are at the plant sale over there,” Alexa Kennel, a senior environmental science major, said. “They’re all really high quality.”
The relief sale has plenty to offer for people of all ages. A group of middle schoolers excitedly argued when asked what their favorite relief sale food item was.
Their final conclusion?
“Everything is our favorite.”
One of the unique features of Michiana’s relief sales is its musical performances. Kent Dutchersmith is in charge of coordinating the music.
“We try to fill six slots with music,” he said. “Three on Friday and three on Saturday morning. I probably had a list of 20 groups that I contacted, and six were able to do it.”
A variety of music included jazz, Irish folk and traditional gospel music. The chairs surrounding an outdoor performing facility were almost filled and everyone seemed to know one another.
“I love coming to the relief sale with friends and parents,” said Alta Good-Elliot, a community member.
The true magic of the relief sale comes from its vibrant community.
“I look forward to coming every year; it’s just part of our rhythm,” Joe Sawatzky, a community member, said.
“I like seeing so many people that I like and meeting new people.”