For fans of the breakfast staple, it's easy to imagine why there would be an entire festival dedicated to its honor. But attendees of this annual fundraiser at Parsons First Presbyterian Church (which benefits the Presbyterian Manor's Good Samaritan Fund) might be disappointed to find they don't serve actual bowls of oatmeal (although there's oatmeal baked into plenty of the offerings).
"It's a funny story how the Oatmeal Festival started," said Jennifer Dawson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. "Church member Mary Hughes was on a trip down in Texas, when she saw a town named Oatmeal. And there was a big sign for the Oatmeal Festival. Mary thought it would make a great 'theme' for a fundraiser the church was developing."
Armed with the name, Mary now had to plan what would be on the menu. She consulted with fellow church member Bev Woods, who happened to have a great recipe for oatmeal bread in her family. A tradition was born.
This December 7th will mark the 15th anniversary of the tasty tradition, but it might be the last, if another partner isn't found.
"As with many churches, our congregation is aging, and it's smaller than in years past. And unfortunately Presbyterian Manor isn't able to provide the manpower anymore either, but we're willing to entertain the idea of continuing it if another group wants to partner with us," said Jennifer. "Anyone interested can call me at 214-930-1726."
Whether the tradition will continue or not, there's no doubt this year's event will be as tasty as ever. The menu includes:
- Oatmeal rhubarb crisp
- Oatmeal cookies
- Oatmeal bread
- Minnesota chicken and wild rice
"We have a robust to-go business, since we provide warm meals to folks attending the yearly Christmas Parade," said Jennifer. "We typically raise around $2,000 every year, and hope to at least do that this year!"
What: Oatmeal Festival
When: 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7
Where: 1700 Broadway Ave., Parsons, KS