By Rick Kennedy, updated Tuesday night
The 61st Annual Mardi Gras Spaghetti Lunch and Supper commenced Tuesday at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Hope with another big lunch time crowd and loads of take-out orders, and into Tuesday night, saw a capacity dine-in crowd at Fellowship Hall.
Earlier in the day for lunch, Spaghetti Chairman Vic Massenelli said “It has been steady all through lunch, and we’ve had a couple of hundred take-outs already. It has been real good and steady traffic.”
Later Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as the parking lot was still full, Massenelli said “Without a doubt, we’ve been packed inside for the past two hours. We’ve had a lot of families with kids in here tonight. It is a different crowd than what we had here at lunch.”
The first crowd at lunch time was mostly local office and business people as well as a number of retirees. The dinner crowd five hours later was mostly working families with lots of kids throughout Fellowship Hall.
Historically, the Church serves up between 1,500 and 1,800 meals with some years reaching over 2,000. Massenelli said Tuesday that approximately one-third of the meals were dine-ins, while the other two-thirds were deliveries and carry-outs. During the dinner rush, cars were lined up and down Walker Street for the drive-thru and carry-outs.
Tuesday night, he said “We are still making deliveries, and we’ve had plenty of carry-outs. I would say we are very close to 1,800 meals served.”
Earlier in the day Massenelli said “Yes, delivery is a big thing for us. We’ve delivered to Tyson, Southern Bakery, and all the way to the Turk Plant down in Fulton.”
Happening to coincide with the Mardi Gras season, and specifically, Fat Tuesday, the event happened a bit later this year, in March, instead of early or mid-February. Decorations and beads in the season’s colors of purple, gold and green are common sights around Fellowship Hall.
For practicing Catholics, Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Traditionally, however, the community event itself has been more about a serving of good food and desserts, no matter what denomination one follows.
Massinelli said it takes over 70 people to plan, sell and develop the event, and during serving times, as many as 25 to 30 persons cook and prepare the meals on Tuesday, not counting the volunteer delivery drivers. “It is a big effort, and everyone is a volunteer,” he said.
Just as popular as the Spaghetti meal in recent years has been the tables of homemade desserts, pies, cookies and cakes. Tuesday, the tables were full again with the customary sweet treats.