DANVILLE —The 2019 Danville Lions Club Raccoon Dinner will be held Monday, Feb. 4, at the St. Luke Community Center, located immediately behind the Danville St. Luke Catholic Church.
The meal will be served from 4:30 until 7:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. At 6:30 p.m., the Devil Land 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 7:30 p.m. with a musical presentation by the regional favorite bluegrass and gospel band — Chestnut Ridge. A raffle drawing for a Ruger American .450 Bushmaster Bolt Action Rifle will be held at the end of the program, tickets are available at the door and at various location in Danville.
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 and outstanding speakers such as Ohio Governor 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, Bobby Carpenter, and many more. The largest attendance to the event was over 800 people.
At the dinner, almost 500 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.
The participants come from all over the United States and Canada to attend this famous event. Past events have seen a gentleman fly up from Missouri in his airplane just for the dinner and a newspaper editor come from Pennsylvania attending to enjoy the unique cuisine. The event has had visitors from places as far away as Russia and Egypt. The 80-year-old Danville Lions Club, chartered in 1939, was sponsored jointly by the Fredericktown and Mount Vernon Lions Clubs. Since the beginning, the club has truly lived up to the Lions Motto “We Serve.” They have sponsored and facilitated many hundreds of fundraising events and service projects to help the Danville area community and its citizens.
Chestnut Ridge is a Bluegrass/Gospel group out of Knox County/Central Ohio area. They have been playing well over 10 years and have a strong following young and old. Their dedication to serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is their drive. While they primarily play gospel, they also like to add some traditional bluegrass tunes. The group has been seen all over Ohio and surrounding states. They have made numerous CD’s and you can find them in many videos on YouTube. Their passion and professionalism can be seen as soon as they take the stage. Members are Jeanell Branstool (mandolin and vocals), Jim Dunfee (guitar and vocals), Mickey Holback (banjo and vocals), Rex Hackley (dobro), Duane Hardesty (bass), and Peter Streiber (fiddle).
For information about the 2019 Raccoon Dinner, contact the Knox County CVB at 740-392-6102, toll free at 1-800-837-5282, on Facebook at Danville Lions Raccoon Dinner, or go to the web at www.VisitKnoxOhio.org.