They’ve been doing this since 1871, so by now they’ve got it down to a science.
Which is a good thing because come Saturday, Oct. 19, some 800 people are likely show up on the Carversville United Church of Christ’s doorstep expecting a lip-smacking Oyster and Pork Dinner plus homemade pie.
And judging from past experience, that’s exactly what they’ll get.
The menu for the 148th annual church fundraiser includes roast pork and/or fried oysters, mashed potatoes, local corn, coleslaw, stewed tomatoes, applesauce made from local apples, rolls and homemade apple, pumpkin and cherry pies.
In the early days, parishioners would cook the meals at their homes and bring them to the church.
Parishioner Jeanne Brown said it’s thought that the event started out as an oyster stew dinner run by the Ladies Aid. They charged 50 cents a meal back then.
“By 1873 the price surged to $1,” said Brown, who runs the Craft Room during the event. “I stay out of the kitchen,” she added emphatically.
Today, the church makes about $10,000 after costs from the dinner for its charities and upkeep, said Brad Livezey.
This year on the day of the event, the dipping of 3,250 oysters starts at 7 a.m., according to Livezey, who organizes the dinner these days. He’s well-trained for the job seeing as how he started out at the age of 5 by pushing the food carts around.
At 7 a.m. the day of the event, each oyster is triple-breaded and laid out on boards and put in the refrigerator truck to be deep fried later that day, said Livezey, who also doubles as a pie-baker.
Actually, the process starts in the summer when None Such Farm in Buckingham donates about 2,500 ears of corn for the event.
This year, 25 people showed up for Corn Day on Aug. 1, to husk, blanch, precook, and freeze the corn.
Solebury Orchards donates 11 cases of apples, which get ground and cooked and spiced into applesauce by about 20 volunteers starting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 16.
Some 350 pounds of pork arrives Oct. 18 and is cut up by John Price, whose father and grandfather before him had the same assigned chore, Livezey said. Half of the pork roasts are cooked by Max Hanson Catering, he added. J. Walter Livezey IV is in charged of the French fries.
And what’s a dinner without potatoes and gravy? That’s 50 pounds of potatoes and 75 pounds of pork scraps for the gravy. To finish it all off there’s ice tea donated by Wawa.
The folks at Carversville United make it all seem easy, but they have overcome a few glitches along the way.
In 1953, the then-minister opposed continuing the event but by the next year it was up and running again and praised by the new minister, the Rev. Ralph Anderson, Brown said.
Before 1968, the dinner was held in December, according to Brown. But when the coffee sent out to the volunteers directing driveway traffic froze in the cups before it got to them, a Plan B became necessary.
And Plan B was to hold the dinner in October, where it remains.
A more serious event was the 2010 church fire, which shut down the dinner — but not for long. It was back the next year.
So, the good-hearted folks at Carversville United start their 148th year hoping you-all come. There’s plenty of good eats.
If you go ...
The Oyster and Pork Dinner will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Oct. 19, at the Carversville United Church of Christ, 3736 Aquetong Road, Carversville.
Dinner is $20 for adults, $8 for children ages 5 to 8 and free for children under 5. Takeouts are $21.
A Craft Room is available with homemade jams, baked goods and crafts.
For questions, call 215-297-5166.