The 64th annual Old Town Rotary Club Hunters Breakfast will be held, as always, on the first day of the deer hunting season, Saturday, November 1, from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Waterfront Park in downtown Old Town.
More than 600 people of all ages--hunters and non-hunters alike--are expected to enjoy the breakfast, which includes pancakes, eggs, ham, home fries, beans, donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate. The cost is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children under 12, and $15 for familes.
People say that going to the Old Town Rotary’s Hunter’s Breakfast is like going home.
The men and women of the group welcome everyone—hunters, families, children, retirees, college students—basically, anyone who wants a good meal at a great price. After all, the breakfast itself isn’t a big fund-raiser for Rotary, it’s more of a tradition. It’s a time for Rotarians to enjoy fellowship amongst themselves and the community.
There is no better way to say “Welcome”, than with food.
Lots and lots of food. The Rotarians prepare buckets and buckets of scrambled eggs, along with several cases of ham. At one point, the club bought the ham unsliced; in recent years, they decided to splurge a bit and purchase it pre-sliced to save prep-time. Pretty ingenious.
If ham and eggs aren’t enough to satisfy any hunter, throw in four industrial-size boxes of pancake mix, four industrial-size containers of hot chocolate, and, according to long-time Rotarian Sandy Morin, “a bazillion pots of coffee.”
So, the menu consists of ham, eggs, pancakes, coffee, hot chocolate. But breakfast in the northeast wouldn’t be breakfast without potatoes. Potato duty is usually Shawn Small’s job, he’s in charge of making sure the 150 pounds of spuds are just right. Too mushy and we have a failure.
For many years, Eloise McLaughlin and the Alton Methodist Church have been gracious enough to provide baked beans. Since Mainers are picky about their beans, when you stand in the chow line, you’ll hear, “Beans? Big beans or little beans?” Now, there’s a Question of the Week for the local newspaper.
As you could imagine, there’s a lot of prep time and effort for all of this food. This is a big event, and rain or shine, people have counted on it happening for 64 years.
It all starts well before opening day. LaBree’s Donuts chips in with 6 cases of donuts. General Rental Center in Old Town lends a big hand by helping set up tents with walls to make the event weather-proof.
Around noon on the Friday before Opening Day (the first day of the deer hunting season), Rotarians start buzzing around the waterfront park in downtown Old Town. The tents are erected, stoves are set up and leveled, lights are put in place, wood for the can-fire is delivered and club members start prepping for their 24-hour food marathon.
In recent years, the Rotaract Club at the University of Maine has helped tremendously. These young folks have fit right in, helping in what is touted as the Rotary’s biggest event of the year.
Coming together as one precise unit, everyone chips in making sure everything is in order. As the day progresses to night, and the first morning of the rifle season arrives, there’s hot coffee, good food and fellowship, which everyone has learned to expect from Old Town Rotary.