Northgate Church plans annual wild-game dinner for commuity

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Northgate Church in Ross Township is hosting its third wild-game dinner, a free feast featuring dishes made with deer, wild boar and catfish, at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Accomplished turkey hunter Brian Hardee of Ozawkie, Kan., will be one of the speakers at the event, and diners will get a chance to win outdoors gear and hunting-related door prizes, said Dan Puhala, an elder at the church.

“We look at what ways we can reach out to the community and let them know who we are,” said Puhala, 42. “It lets people know what we're about and have a night of sharing.”

The menu will include items such as deer meatballs, Marsala-style pheasant, Lake Erie perch, blackened catfish and cod, as well as wild-boar hot sausage, said church member Joe Baczek, who regularly assists in preparing the meal.

Baczek, 57, said he also is preparing his hearty macaroni and cheese, and stuffed mushrooms and stuffed peppers also will be available. He said the dinner is prepared by five or six cooks who actually start preparations a week prior to the event.

“Then there's about 15 people running around, cleaning up after us so we don't fall over,” he said.

Baczek, of Chippewa, said the first dinner had about 130 people, and last year, the event drew about 330.

“I'm thinking we're going to have over 400,” Baczek said about this year.

Event speaker Hardee, who has been hunting turkeys for approximately 20 years, as well as assisting others in shooting their first turkeys, has a record of shooting more than 80 birds, he said. He'll be at the dinner to provide tips, stories and “a little bit of the crazy things that happens when you're calling turkeys in.”

Puhala, who has been a member of the church for about 15 years, said door prizes will include gift cards for local sporting-goods stores, a tree stand, fishing rods and tackle boxes. Dinner attendees will be entered in the door-prize drawing for free when they register at the door.

Puhala, of Ross Township, said a representative of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will be at the event to discuss rules and regulations associated with hunting and fishing.

And, Puhala said, dinner guests also will get to hear about the spiritual aspects of the church, which is at 238 West View Ave. Last year, Puhala spoke on God in nature.

Puhala said despite the large crowd expected, the church will have plenty of food. He urged people to get there early, though, because the line does get long. Reservation are not necessary.

Baczek said the dinner is a great family event, and children will be able to find something good to eat there.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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