Published June 7, 2019
The famous spaghetti and sausage dinner of St. Joseph Church in Center Ridge is celebrating its 90th anniversary Saturday, June 15. “Old World” Italian cuisine will be plentiful from 2 to 8 p.m. Mass will be held at 4 p.m. Around 2,500 people are expected from all over Arkansas and neighboring states for the festival.
It all began back in 1929, when Benedictine Sisters Petronilla Zehnder, Liguori Baker and Benedict Marie Borgering took the initiative to raise money for school supplies. Although the school closed in 1967 and the sisters moved away, the dinner remained and flourished.
The first dinner was served for just 25 cents per plate in the convent. Less than 200 people attended and it raised about $40.
Parishioner Pat Hart said, “It is amazing to see the growth of the dinner over the years and it is a great blessing from God, because it is our biggest fundraiser for the parish.”
Among the parishioners living today, only three of them were alive in 1929. The entire parish community is involved in making the spaghetti and sausage, baking the bread and preparing the desserts. Parishioners come together the first week of January to make the sausage — chopping the meat, grinding, seasoning, stuffing and cooking it.
The day also includes games and bingo.