Mount Vernon News
 
 
Former Major League Baseball umpire Larry Barnett, center, talks with Sandy, left, and Pat Crow of the Danville Lions Club prior to his talk Monday. Barnett was the featured speaker at the annual Raccoon Dinner.
Former Major League Baseball umpire Larry Barnett, center, talks with Sandy, left, and Pat Crow of the Danville Lions Club prior to his talk Monday. Barnett was the featured speaker at the annual Raccoon Dinner. (Photo by Virgil Shipley) View Image

By Mount Vernon News
February 5, 2013 8:57 am EST

 

DANVILLE — Events that draw large crowds, like the one that drew hundreds of visitors to Danville on Monday night, are often remarkable — in some way. And Monday night’s event was no different. Guests went to Danville to eat raccoon at the 69th annual Danville Lions Club Raccoon Dinner. They came from as far as Florida, New Jersey and even Norway.

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“The weather will make a difference,” stated Lions Club President Sandy Crow. But as she greeted guests, the rows and rows of tables set up at St. Luke Community Center filled quickly.

“In the 1950s, the dinner was by invitation only,” said Crow, “then they decided to open it to the community.”

Her husband, Pat Crow added, “it started as a joke. The story we were told was that it was a surprise meal for the club at the home of Clyde Banbury, but everyone really enjoyed it so they made it a tradition.”

Terry Finnegan of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Mary Ann Burke of Vineland, N.J., drove west for that tradition. It was Finnegan’s fourth year to the dinner and Burke’s second.

The couple met on eHarmony and when asked what they were going to do about the distance that separated them, they simultaneously responded, “We’re working on it.”

A tuft of fur was apparent at the top of Finnegan’s shirt and when asked about it, he pulled out a raccoon pelt. He said he also has a blanket made of approximately 15 pelts at home. The pelts were taken from raccoons from a farm in Pennsylvania.

“The meat reminds me of dark meat turkey,” said Burke. They must like it: They took home a whole tray of meat.

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