DANVILLE — The 2013 Danville Lions Club Raccoon Dinner will be held Monday at the St. Luke’s Community Center, located immediately behind the Danville St. Luke’s Catholic Church.
The meal will be served from 5:00 until 7:30 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. At 7:00 p.m., the Danville Jazz Band will perform for the attendees across the street from the Community Center in the High School Auditorium. The main event will follow the band at 8 p.m. with a presentation by former professional baseball umpire Larry Barnett. A raffle drawing for a rifle will be held at the end of the program.
This year’s featured program will be Barnett with a presentation entitled “Baseball from behind the umpire’s mask.” Barnett is a native of Prospect, a small town near Marion. After graduating from high school, he entered umpire school in Florida He officiated in the minor leagues for five years and in 1968 became the youngest major league umpire in history. He umpired for 31 years, having retired in 1999. He has been praised by many of the old pros that preceded him and admits that some have had other comments, too. Baseball fans might have thought that umpires were stodgy old men with weak eyes and a slow wit. Barnett is a man who takes delight in refuting that. He certainly isn’t stodgy . . . he can see well enough to drive a car and he has a quick wit, which you will hear when he speaks. Much of the hard work, sweat and jeers that make up this nation’s number one sport is often very humorous; he will share some of that with the audience. He has umpired in 8 American League Playoffs, 4 World Series’ and 5 All-Star games. One of Larry’s most controversial calls came in the third game of the “Super Series of 1975.”
Clyde Banbury and Clyde Cornell started the first Raccoon Dinner. The meal was served in Banbury’s basement with 30 in attendance. After a few years, the annual dinner was moved to the elementary building at the school cafeteria since the interest in attending was dramatically increasing. As the event evolved, guest speakers were included as part of the program. There have been many notable speakers such as Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes, OSU head coaches Woody Hayes and John Cooper, Gordy Coleman (Cincinnati Reds), Jerry Razor (newscaster), Ed Johnson, Steve Newman, Andy Geiger, Bill Conley, Craig Krenzel, Greg Frey, Katie Smith, Matt Finkus, and many more. The largest attendance to the event was over 800 people.
At the dinner, almost 600 pounds of raccoon is served as the entree coupled with a full course setting of mashed potatoes, dressing, mixed vegetables, raccoon gravy, cake, and a generous serving of fresh homemade cornbread. A limited amount of ham is prepared for those wishing to attend whose health may not permit them to consume the raccoon.
For information about the Raccoon Dinner, contact the Knox County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 740-392-6102, toll free at 1-800-837-5282, or go to the web at www.VisitKnoxOhio.org and click the calendar menu item to access the detailed listing and a link to a map for the event.
Published on January 29, 2013