The thrill of scrapple


By Lynn R. Parks

Joy Miller traveled nearly three hours to get to the Apple-Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville last weekend. But she wasn’t about to eat a scrapple sandwich. “I don’t care for scrapple,” said Miller, of Willow Street, Pa. She and her friends, Vivian Shaffer and Arlene Martin, both from Manheim, Pa., and neither a scrapple fan, had cheese steaks and funnel cakes between visiting the many craft booths that were part of the festival. But their dislike for scrapple did not prevent the women from watching the scrapple chunking contest, also part of the annual festival. “This is really fun,” said Martin, as contestants braved a drizzling rain to throw 2- and 5-pound blocks of scrapple and vie for top honors. Karen Casto, 22, and Mandy Clark, 22, competed in the adult women’s category in the scrapple chunking contest. Both seniors at Wesley College in Dover, they are compiling a scrapbook about life in Delaware and will include details about the festival in it. “I just don’t know how to toss scrapple,” said Casto, as she walked back to the large crowd behind her after her second and final throw. “Is there an art form to it?” This was the 12th year for the festival, originally designed as a way for area non-profit groups and school clubs to raise money. Volunteer Alma Fleetwood said that about 30,000 people attended the two-day festival, which included entertainment, an antique car and tractor show, a scrapple carving contest and an apple pie eating contest. All planned events except a dance by members of the Nanticoke tribe went on despite off and on rain. “Some people left when it starting to rain, but it was still a tight squeeze uptown,” Fleetwood said. “We were real pleased with the turnout.”
Centered around the bandstand, which was set up behind the Bridgeville Fire Hall, food booths sold sandwiches, French fries and ice cream. Members of the Tennefoss family from Greenwood sold apple dumplings, taking the place of Tressler Mennonite Church, which is recovering from a fire. The family made 4,000 dumplings, starting three weeks before the festival. The dumplings were frozen, then baked at the Greenwood Mennonite School before being transported to the festival. By late Saturday afternoon, all dumplings had been sold. The Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department sold sliced roast beef sandwiches. Auxiliary member Lisa Moran turned thick chunks of beef over a charcoal fire; her husband, firefighter Mike Moran, said that the company hoped to sell 1,500 pounds of beef before the festival was over. Skip and Joanne Parsons traveled from Lewes to Bridgeville for the festival. Sitting in the tent set up near the bandstand, Joanne Parsons said that her husband was anxious to come, as the festival gave him a chance to wear his bright pink pig hat. “He had to have open-heart surgery 10 weeks ago, and he had a valve replaced,” she said. “The valve that they put in was a pig valve.” The couple’s son, Jamie Parsons, of Massachusetts, gave his father the hat before surgery. Skip Parsons wore the hat before and after his operation. But he had not had the opportunity to wear it since, she said. If all goes as planned, Parsons will get another chance to wear his hat again next year. Plans are already in the works for the 13th annual Apple-Scrapple Festival, set for Oct. 8 and 9, 2004. “We will rest a couple of months, then we will get back to work,” said Fleetwood.

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