Parkland Press

Monday, November 18, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS BY ELSA KERSCHNER Johanna Adams of Wernersville, Berks County, gave clown noses to children as they entered the Hamburg Fieldhouse for the Farm Family Appreciation Dinner. Her mother-in-law made the clown costume she is wearing. PRESS PHOTOS BY ELSA KERSCHNER Johanna Adams of Wernersville, Berks County, gave clown noses to children as they entered the Hamburg Fieldhouse for the Farm Family Appreciation Dinner. Her mother-in-law made the clown costume she is wearing.
Shirley Ney of Hamburg got into the circus theme with orange hair and a red nose. Shirley Ney of Hamburg got into the circus theme with orange hair and a red nose.
Cowgirl Isabella Hemsley, 20 months, traveled from Kempton for the Farm Family Celebration. Cowgirl Isabella Hemsley, 20 months, traveled from Kempton for the Farm Family Celebration.
Taylor Evans and Sara Haas, along with Kalina Rhoads of Boyertown, show off their cowboy boots. Taylor Evans and Sara Haas, along with Kalina Rhoads of Boyertown, show off their cowboy boots.
Danica Rhoads is the Berks County Little Miss Dairy Princess. Sharing the spotlight is Madeline Johnson. Danica Rhoads is the Berks County Little Miss Dairy Princess. Sharing the spotlight is Madeline Johnson.
Pastor Mary Gade, associate of the bishop of the Northeastern Pa. Synod, fills cups with popcorn as Karen Boyd of the Lehigh County Farm Bureau Women's Committee scoops chips and pretzels onto plates. Pastor Mary Gade, associate of the bishop of the Northeastern Pa. Synod, fills cups with popcorn as Karen Boyd of the Lehigh County Farm Bureau Women's Committee scoops chips and pretzels onto plates.
Between hoedown dances, the attendees did some line dancing. Between hoedown dances, the attendees did some line dancing.

Thank-you dinner was a real circus for farm families

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by ELSA KERSCHNER ekerschner@tnonline.com in Local News

The Rev. Bruce Mac-Laughlin, pastor of Ziegels Lutheran Church, Breinigsville, welcomed the 850 farmers and their supporters to the Farm Family Appreciation Celebration dinner at the Hamburg Fieldhouse.

Each year farm families receive a free dinner as a thank-you for their hard work feeding the people of America and the world. Supporters buy their tickets.

"It is heartwarming to see so many of you here," MacLaughlin said. "It is my first time, so I did some research."

And keeping with the theme of this year's dinner, "Circuses and Carnivals," he jokingly said farmers shouldn't tell secrets because potatoes have eyes and corn has ears, and if a clown's nose were a foot long, it would be a foot, not a nose.

"This is the 14th time we have held this event," MacLaughlin said. "Eat enough; dance enough and fellowship enough."

The pastor then recited a prayer, written by poet Robert Frost, which began "Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today," and ended with "For this is love and nothing else is love."

McLaughlin then honored members of the military, past and present, as well as their families and read the list of organizations sponsoring the dinner. He made note of the two new churches that are now sponsors: St. Peter's Union Church, Tamaqua, and Heidelberg United Church of Christ.

Eighteen major sponsors were listed. Most of them were banks, churches and granges. Another 16 churches were categorized as congregational donors.

"Without their support this may not be possible," MacLaughlin said. "We thank the 600 farm family members for their dedication and work in God's creation."

He also thanked God "for the fruitful life that gives us what we need for life."

Leader of the band, The Outlaws, Rick Hartman, chose several circus-themed songs and taped them to play during dinner. The first and most recognizable was "The Circus Grand Entrance," which was used by Barnum and Bailey, Hartman explained.

After some line dancing, the music switched to hoedowning, with Paul Adams doing the calling.

As the dinner was held two days short of St. Patrick's Day, there were attendees also celebrating that holiday.