The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 22, 2013

Weather impacts Harpersfield Ox Roast

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — For 39 years, the Harpersfield Volunteer Fire Department has been hosting it Ox Roast, but they may have never had one quite like this year.

Saturday morning, volunteers arrived at the Harpersfield Community Recreation Center to find the grounds under water.

“There was water everywhere,” said Julie Henry, the fire chief’s wife. “ We didn’t know how we were going to do it.”

With a lot of help and team work, they were able to salvage the event.

“The guys got portable pumps and pumped the water out,” she said.

After the water was pumped out, gravel was poured on a number of areas because the ground was too soft, Henry said.

“We worked until noon, when we opened,” she said. “We still had cars getting stuck.”

If there is anything they learned, it’s the show must go on. Henry said people were stopping to ask if they planned on opening despite the water issues, and the answer was “yes.”

Although the weather impacted attendance this year, Henry said the event just seems to get bigger and bigger each year.

“We’ve been cooking 2.5 tons of meat the past several years and that’s what we cooked this year,” she said.

Sunday afternoon, people filtered in, but Henry was expecting wall-to-wall people at night. The event featured a full line-up of entertainment, including fireworks Sunday night.

The Ox Roast is a fundraiser for the fire department.

Henry said the event would not have been possible without the help of the community as well as the guys on the fire department and their families.

“We pulled it all together,” she said. “This may have been our most stressful year.”

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