On Saturday, Wauka Mountain Elementary got ready for next weekend’s annual Chicken Pie Supper with a day of chicken pickin’.
The Chicken Pie Supper has been a tradition for 83 years and is still a big hit in the community. The supper is a fundraiser for Wauka Mountain Elementary, and this year proceeds will buy new playground equipment.
To prepare for such an event, about 30 volunteers gathered Saturday at the Wauka Mountain Elementary school cafeteria to cook and prepare the chicken.
Teo Barth, leader of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, arrived at 3 a.m. to start cooking. He and a crew of cooks boil the chicken and then cook it in a pressure cooker. The cooked chicken is piled up on sheet pans and carried to waiting volunteers who pick it off the bone and remove any fat or gristle from the meat. Once the meat is ready for baking, it is stored in plastic bags and frozen until Friday, when the pies are actually made.
This year, nearly 3,000 pounds of chicken was donated by local chicken plants.
Chicken picking volunteer, Jill Lee and her husband, John Lee, have been volunteering for the supper for seven years. Although they no longer have children attending Wauka Mountain, they still like to help out.
"I love it, it’s fun. You just do for your friends," Jill Lee said. Her best friend, Cheryl Matthews, has also been volunteering for seven years.
"Wauka Mountain is the best school around. We have a sense of community and everyone cares for everyone here," said Mindy Pitchford, a chicken picking volunteer and PTO treasurer. Pitchford is in her fourth year of volunteering for the supper and has two children attending the school.
Pitchford and Lee both said they will be back next weekend to help roll dough and deliver pies to carry-out customers.
The Chicken Pie Supper is Wauka Mountain Elementary’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Last year it attracted 3,000 people. Jo Dinnan, school principal, hopes to attract more because of election time. Traditionally, candidates who are running for office, or even testing the waters, will show up. Some even volunteer.
Dinnan says her favorite part is "being a part of tradition. There are so few long traditions left."
The supper will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Wauka Mountain Elementary. A plate with chicken pie, beans, coleslaw and a roll will cost $6 and a whole pie will cost $20. T-shirts and hats will also be available for purchase.