Home Made Videos From Area Chicken Dinners


Chuck Martin did a great job of producing a video for the Enquirer describing the Sunday dinner at St. Paul in New Alsace Indiana. It really gives a feel for what it's like to go to a dinner and, just as importantly, who the people are who go to and work at these churches.

When grandkids started to arrive, I bought a small video camera that I can hold in the palm of my hand. I thought to myself, why don't I try to produce videos of the dinners using my small camera? I must say that I feel like a true amateur and have much to learn about doing anything remotely close to what Chuck produced. But, I hope that I can give you some idea of the "lay of the land." at a few of the church dinners that I visit.

The videos below have been posted to the YouTube Web site. Click the arrow (maybe twice) in the center of the picture below to start the movie.

The movie uses Flash technology, which hopefully is already part of your Computer System. If not, it can be downloaded at: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/


Note that dial-up connections may download the movies slowly and as a result the movie may stop playing until the download "catches up." You should be okay if you connect by TV Cable or Phone Company DSL.


To view Enquirer's Chuck Martin video produced in 2006 of the St. Paul chicken dinner in New Alsace,    Click Here



Here's my small video camera:

August 2015
St Aloysius Church, Shandon OH

I remember in the past when the ticketing system had numbers and we had to walk around for quite a while until our number was called. This year we waited 10 minutes and were escorted into the very large air-conditioned hall. We were seated at at table with another family and their parents. The food started to arrive and we passed things around family-style. My plate was full and the chicken hadn't even arrived yet.

I love the fresh corn cut off the cob and the slaw is much to my liking. This dinner is in my top five for sure. A friend of mine from Air Force days in Germany, Ron Martini, stopped over to say hi to the "Chicken Man." He also commented on how good the dinner was. Edith, being an ex-teacher, always comments on how polite the children are who help with the dinner.

There was an antique tractor and auto show on the grounds. I thought I was taking lots of videos but didn't realize that my camera wasn't recording. I didn't know it earlier, but it looks like both Edith and I owned 55 Chevys in our early years. She always interleaves the fingers of her hands when she finds some form of us thinking alike  I went online looking for what to call this and found simpatico, synchronicity, and more. I don't know what it is; I just think it's funny and that she's funny.

"> July 2015
St Martin Church, Yorkville IN

When I was a boy scout, more than a few years ago, we had camped in Indiana and our scoutmaster had taken us to this dinner. A boyhood friend of mine, Jim Lotz, reminded me of this a few years ago when he saw Chuck Martin's article in the Enquirer. There was a good crowd and the place was almost full. We were served in a line with  the traditional fare and three pieces of chicken. I was happy to see that they had dressing.

We were escorted to a table and seated with another family. I'm always happy to be seated this way, it's kind of the family style tradition where you get a chance to talk to someone you never met before. They were from N. Kentucky and the son-in-law was from New York, which gives me a chance to introduce my Brooklyn-born sweetheart Edith.

The planets must be aligned for us in 2015 because we've gone to lots of church dinners and plan on going to many more. There were some years when we only made one or two. I guess that we're just not as busy anymore with the kids and grandkids getting older. That's not a sad thing, it's just part of growing up.

July 2015
St. John the Baptist Church, Dover IN

This church is one of the easiest to get to from our house by taking the St. Leon exit and stay on Route 1 for a couple miles. For some reason, we've gotten good parking spots this year and today was no exception. The line was short and we were soon picking out our dessert and ready to get our food. Each dinner is a little different and here the plate was already filled and we were sent on our way. they advertise four pieces of chicken and many people take the extra home.

We found a seat and then looked up and saw Edith's friend Mark who we met the week before at St. Lawrence. There were even more people in his group this time and I recorded them all on this video. One of the ladies gave the dinner two thumbs up. I would have to agree; the chicken was delicious.

The three related churches scheduled a presentation of the replica of the Shroud of Turin. We moseyed over after dinner and were impressed with the discussion and replica of the Shroud. I did one of my traditional walks into the cemetery to look at the old tombstones, many displaying the German names of persons that settled the area in the early 1800s..

July 2015
St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceburg IN

I guess that I got a little confused on dates -- this dinner is held during the earlier part of July. My Mom and my Aunt Bernadine worked at this dinner years ago and I was best man at may cousin's wedding at this church so I feel a connection. It's funny that we met a friend of Edith's when we got in line, someone she assisted with his presentations of George Remus. My camera happened to running inadvertently and I had a recording of the initial conversation. I left that in this video and the picture is of the wall or floor.

But the rest of the movie is as planned and we weren't seated as normal and instead sat with Mark's family. They had already eaten and the servers brought us fresh bowls of food. I love the dinners with bread dressing and found myself with whole bowl fresh from the kitchen. Mmm mmm good!

I especially like family style dinners since they usually seat you with strangers and you get to pass the plates and meet someone new. And we met some people from the west side of Cincinnati who we never met before. And they were happy to meet the "chicken man" and he was happy to meet them too. And the food was great too. Perfect day I'd say!


June 2015
St. Nicholas Church, Sunman IN

With all the rain we've been having, this turned out to be the perfect day. St Nicholas was the first Indiana church dinner we went to and I've been wanting to go here for a while since I heard they changed the format from family style to a buffet arrangement. There was very little wait time and we went straight to the food line right in the middle of the gym.

It was set up nicely and there was a pan of roast beef and gravy in addition to the trays of chicken. I liked going back and getting a little more slaw and couple legs. The desert was home made and I liked the idea of getting a nice hot cup of coffee. Oh, I almost forgot: they also had a container of mock turtle soup on the buffet line (at one time they made it from fresh turtles.)

I ran into Jack Hoeting, also a west-sider who I was stationed with in the Air Force in Germany during the Berlin Crisis.  He told me that he attended all eight grades at St. Nicholas School. He mentioned that they had Eucharistic Adoration at the church and I stopped over and visited for a few minutes.

September 2014
St. Louis Church, Batesville IN

We arrived at the church a little later than usual because of the construction on I-74 and I-275. But it was as beautiful a fall day as one could hope for and we enjoyed our drive into Indiana. Most of the corn and soybean fields looked good and were just turning to their golden harvest colors. It's never crowded on this section of I-74, which adds to the enjoyment of the drive.

Batesville is one of the largest towns we go to for a church dinners. They have been supported by a few big companies through the years. The largest is the Hillenbrand label that manufactures caskets and hospital fixtures. When heading west from the freeway exit, St. Louis Church was visible in the  distance.

The dinner had been going on for over three hours and the crowd was down from its peak. We zipped right in, got our food and were seated with some very nice people. The couple from Oldenburg attended St. Louis. He was a sturdy man in his 60's and still farmed more than 80 acres. We later bought a quart of turtle soup and shuffled through the displays under the tents. The end of this movie shows a carriage pulled by three horses. Nice!


  September 2009
St Michael Church, Brookville IN

Mass was being celebrated and parking around the church was pretty full, so we pulled out of the area and parked in town. It was short walk and we didn't mind at all since it was a beautiful sunny day. We found the dinner line and it took us about 30-40 minutes to get to the staging area. The dinner is held in a newer gymnasium building that is air conditioned.

The arrangement is different than any other dinner we've been to in that large round tables are used. This allows you to see everyone at your table and it makes passing food and talking to your neighbor much easier. We had grabbed our dessert when coming in and the food was waiting for us as we sat down. Everything was very good and the cole slaw had to be one of my favorites.

I wanted to see the cooking area since they seem to promote the pan-fried chicken (compared to deep-fried that most church dinners have.) The cooking area had portable gas-fired stoves and sure enough the chicken was being cooked in large pans. The pans had a generous amount of oil but the pieces had to be turned to cook both sides. I don't know if we liked it better than deep-fried, but it was very good and nice-and-juicy too. We got home in time to see the second half of the Bengals-Denver game. The loss couldn't take away from an otherwise perfect day.

  August 2009
Cedar Grove Firehouse, Cedar Grove IN

The weather was perfect as we pulled off the main road, US52, just past Holy Guardian Angel Church. It was about 6:30 and there was a good crowd. The lines for carry-out and dining room seemed almost equal. It took about 45 minutes to get to the serving area. It's cafeteria style and you are served chicken, potatoes and green beans. I selected my desert as I walked into the dining area.

The large doors were open for ventilation. These are the doors that the fire trucks drive through. There were two sections that held the fireman's coats and other gear. We sat at a long table that had fresh-cut tomatoes and cole slaw. The chicken was good and we walked away feeling satisfied. We walked through the little town on the way back to the car. there was a railroad track right in the middle of things and we noticed a tavern that we later found of the list of 30 chicken dinner places in our region (we'll check it out sometime.)

We looked around the the Catholic Church some as we headed back. It's right on the main street and is pretty good sized. There is a nice looking school building in the back, but it looks like it's no longer used as for that purpose. There also is a nicely-kept cemetery behind the church. By the time we got to the car the moon was shining over the valley. Nice.

  August 2009 (The church closed in 2013 but I wanted to keep this video.)
St. Pius Church, (near) Sunman IN

Another hot and humid weather forecast and another early arrival. This is one of the smaller dinners but one of my favorites. The church was founded in 1859, so this was their 150th. Anniversary. I turned off the main highway and turned down a country road. There were a few farmhouses and lots of soybeans and corn. And there in the middle of all the crops rises St. Pius Church. If you ever lived in the country, it feels like you're back home.

This dinner has a little different twist in that it's family-style with all the dishes on the table except the chicken. You are given a plate with a a half-chicken but it's plenty and many people ask for a plastic bag to bring the leftovers home. Everything on the table was very good and I capped it off with a moist yellow cake with fresh blueberries. Yum.

I went outside looking for Mick Braunagel. He had called me on the phone earlier and asked if there was something I could do to promote the dinner this year because of their anniversary. I found Mick by the chicken cookers. He was a sturdy-looking man who wore a cowboy hat. He has been helping fry the chicken since he was 16. Mick is close to 65 so, according to my calculations, he's been helping St. Pius for almost 50 Years. Way to go!

  August 2009
St. Paul Church, New Alsace IN

We're becoming "early-bird special" kind of people in that we arrived 10 minutes before the dinner started. The main reason was that after our cool summer, the weatherman said it would be 90 and humid. I stood in the sun for about 15 minutes and must say I enjoyed it because of the strong breeze blowing through the waiting area. When the line moved about 50 feet, we were under the canopy and enjoying the shade. We got inside about 11:20 and were part of the first seating, but almost at the end.

The food soon arrived and I was happy to see that they had both slaw and cucumber salad. Edith's favorite was the slaw and I loaded up on the cucumbers. I spotted their famous dressing (it's the greatest) and the dark gravy and knew what would dominate my plate. Everything was great as usual and it's served family-style..

There was a couple at the end of the table who live in Yorkville who were the nicest people. They put us to shame as to the number of dinners they attended this year. Edith told the lady that there was a site that listed these dinners and it might help them in finding out about the places and times. The lady politely said that they use a Web site called ThinkingChicken for their information. And now they can say they know the "Chicken Man." That and $1.50 might get you a cup of coffee (or maybe a chicken leg.)

  August 2008
St. John the Baptist of Dry Ridge, Colerain Township OH

It was a beautiful summer day with low humidity. We arrived at around 1 pm and had a short wait of less than 15 minutes before we were called in and seated. The gym is large and air-conditioned and likely seats around 450 for the dinner. And the place was full. I seem to recall that St. John serves over 5,000 dinners. That's a lot.

The food was great. I enjoy the fresh things this time of year and looked forward to the fresh corn cut from the cob. I forgot about the cucumber salad, which is so, so good. The chicken was delicious and I finally capped things off with a slice of rhubarb pie. The servers were great and when we asked for something, such as more dark meat, they brought it quickly. It's unusual to find churches "in town" that will go to all the commotion of preparing a family-style dinner in this day-and-age, especially when many moms are working outside the home. Good for you.

September 2008, Labor Day
St. Peter Church, Rural Brookville IN

We arrived early, around 10:15. I had called a few weeks ago to make reservations for the 10:45 seating and also sent in a check (I believe that this assures that they will not give up your ticket if you're a little late.) The weather was very nice and it likely heated up some in the afternoon. Last year Edith won a "baby's quilt." She took some chances this year using the money her Mom sent along, not thinking she would win again (lots of tickets are sold.)

We were waiting in line for the dinner and I walked over to the booth and saw that they had drawn the ticket. I gave her the number and she was up like a shot -- she won again and since it was early, Edith could pick from a full selection. She had to call her Mom right away with the news.

Waiting in line, we talked to the nicest people who lived on Powner Rd. in Mack, sharing some Elder stories since their boys went to the same school as ours. We were separated inside and sat with a large group of brothers and sisters from the parish. They were great and since we were kind of squeezed in at the end of the table, they made sure that we were passed whatever needed. Everything was very good and Edith was able to snag a slice of pineapple upside-down cake for me. I was a happy man.






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