The food at the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale is full of traditions.
Thousands stand in line for pancakes and sausage on the fourth Saturday of September at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds. Ground cherry pies tend to be among the most popular when they go on sale. Volunteers stay up all night to roast hogs for pork sandwiches.
Proceeds from the sale, which includes auctions, a 5K run and music, go to Mennonite Central Committee, which does relief work around the world. Many Amish and Mennonite churches or groups in northern Indiana operate a food stand as a project to raise funds.
- RELATED: Building haystacks and community, April 12, 2014
Historically, Friday night was an open house but in recent years, food sales on Friday nights have grown and early Saturday traffic isn’t as brisk.
There’s always been ethnic food, if you consider Amish-Mennonite food ethnic. But in the past number of years it’s ranged to Kenyan, Puerto Rican and Indian, according to spokeswoman Kendra Ramseyer.
There’s often a line for freshly fried apple fritters. Elephant ears, kettle corn, and Rise & Roll doughnuts will be available. Haystacks, an Amish-Mennonite version of taco salad, will be available Friday night, Sept. 25. Breakfast haystacks will be sold on Saturday morning and taco salads on Saturday, Sept. 26.
- RELATED: Dining A La King: Rise ‘N Roll’s beloved doughnut has gone through a transformation, July 6
The sale is also a chance to stock up on cheese, Mishler’s fresh sausage and apple butter.
Baked goods made for the sale will be sold, including gluten-free options.
A lot of the food at the sale, including sausage and onion sandwiches, have been available year after year. They gain a following. This year’s sale will have a big change. After some volunteers worked at recycling, there won’t be foam plates. Paper products for food will be compostable, Ramseyer said.