Originally published in The Weekly Packet, November 1, 2012
Halcyon Grange harvests goodwill at annual supper
Raises $2,100 for operating costs
Grange president John Tyler with a plate of food from the Harvest dinner which raised over $1,300 for grange operating expenses.
by Anne Berleant
How do you feed 112 hungry folks? Sometimes, just barely, as the cooks behind the annual harvest supper at the Halcyon Grange in North Blue Hill found out on October 20.
“It was standing room only,” said grange president John Tyler, who was worried they might run out of food. In the end, there was enough to go around, he said, although “the pig was picked completely bare.”
Traditional Scottish and Irish music, with bagpipes, accompanied the supper, provided by MacLir Ceilidh, who heard of the harvest supper and contacted the grange, offering to play for free.
The grange holds public suppers throughout the spring, summer and fall, with an auction at the harvest supper.
For this year’s auction, businesses donated items ranging from oysters to spirits to an electric screwdriver—and gift cards, which help shoppers buy local this season.
Between the $794 raised by the auction and the $1,348 taken in at the door, the grange has over $2,100 to spend on its operating costs, said Tyler.
The grange has a long history of holding public suppers to cover its expenses. The building, which was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, was incorporated as Halcyon Grange #345 in 1902. Over the next years, it held bean suppers to help furnish the dining room and provide electricity, and prepared dinners for the Blue Hill Yacht Club and the Blue Hill County Club and sold strawberry shortcake at the Blue Hill Fair to pay for a hot water heater, an oil furnace and running water in the kitchen.
This year is a little different from past years, however. The harvest supper marked the official kickoff of a capital campaign to raise $150,000 to renovate the grange kitchen, weatherize the building for year-round use and install an elevator to make the second floor accessible to everyone.
Toward this effort, the grange sold raffle tickets for a “harvest basket” at its bi-monthly meetings and events like “A Taste of the Peninsula” on October 6, with the winner chosen at random at the harvest supper. By selling 600 tickets, the grange raised nearly $600 toward the renovation project. That brings the total funds raised so far to around $13,500.
“It’s an excellent kickoff,” said Tyler, who chairs the capital campaign committee. “It looks like we’re on target for groundbreaking this spring.”
The grange also held a “special dinner” as a fundraiser for the kitchen project on October 28. Chef Brendan Murray from Bucks Harbor Restaurant prepared a four-course menu.