Church dinners in Adair, Booneville bring joy to local folk

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Our joy in church dinners was doubled this week, when the Booneville United Methodist Church in Booneville held its fall feats Saturday and the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Adair celebrated Oktoberfest Sunday.

During the beloved church dinner season, there are a multitude of venues to choose from. Dinners are held all week, particularly on weekends. On some occasions you have to decide which of two or more locations you want to visit.

If you are lucky, you may be able to make two meals if they are close enough to each other. You suffer, but it is well worth it.

Last weekend offered some great opportunities for church dining. On Saturday it was the Booneville United Methodist Church in Booneville. On Sunday it was the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Adair.

Booneville is an unincorporated town in Dallas County, located west of Des Moines and West Des Moines. Booneville was founded in 1871. It was named after the Boone family, who were prominent local landowners.

Booneville is set in a hilly area. There is not much there except for a United Methodist Church, a restaurant which always has dozens of cars in the parking lot, a thrift store and a  U.S. Post Office for the 50038 zip code.

As in other small towns, one sees in Booneville interesting practices not seen in larger areas. There is very limited parking at the church. During events such as a dinner, people park their cars on both sides of the street. You can barely get a car through the middle. A larger town would be concerned because you could not get emergency vehicles through these cars.

It is always interesting to see the buildings that are used as post offices in smaller towns. They are not always modern or uniform as in larger towns. Many of them are rented by the U.S. Postal Service and are not owned by the federal government.

Each fall year the Booneville United Methodist Church hosts a dinner. Since I started attending several years ago, the main menu has always been chicken and noodles with potatoes. Green beans are the vegetable. A variety of salads are offered, along with a choice of pies and other desserts.

The ladies of the church always decorate, and each table contains a decoration on the table with inspirational verses from the Bible.

They plan to serve about 180 people. One year Dan and I did not get to the dinner soon enough, and we got nothing except pie. You have to arrive in a timely manner, or you might be out of luck. The ladies have laminated cards with a number on them. When you go through, they put the number in a basket.

Monies raised are used for various missions or projects within the church, according to the church ladies.

The next day was Sunday. A local media outlet had Immanuel Lutheran Church listed, which we assumed to be in Guthrie Center. We got to the church and there were no cars around. I went into the dark, unlocked church to investigate.

I heard someone coming in and yelled hello so as not to scare them. I asked the church lady, who said the church dinner was in Adair. Guthrie Center’s event would be coming up the following Wednesday.

I went back to the car and told Dan. We headed west and then south for another 30 minutes. I had not been so close to so many windmills in my life. It looked like thousands of these windmills for as far as you could see.

Adair sits on the far northern border of Adair County. Adair was founded in 1868, when the Rock Island railroad was built through there. It was first called Summit Cut. In 1872 the city was named Adair after a War of 1812 general and the eighth governor of Kentucky, John Adair.

Adair is very famous because the first successful train robbery in the U.S. took place there July 21, 1873. The James-Younger Gang, which was led by Jesse James, derailed a train southwest of town and got away with $3,000. The engineer was killed in the derailment.

On June 27, 1953, Adair had a rare F5 tornado go through it.

The Immanuel Lutheran Church held its Oktoberfest in the Adair Community Building just off U.S. Interstate 80. They are part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).

The money raised from the meal will be used for LCMS hurricane relief. There were a lot of area LCMS clergy in attendance at the dinner. It was good to see clergy supporting a fellow church and giving charity to the victims of the hurricanes.

The sumptuous menu included beer brats, roast beef, ham, cheesy potatoes, green beans, homemade apple sauce and dessert. Also there was a silent auction, and farm-fresh eggs were sold. Funds raised for the silent auction will be used for projects within the church.

The scene was very festive. There were autumn-themed displays, and polka music was played in the background.

After the dinner, we headed down the white pole road. We took tours of Adair, Casey, Menlo, Dexter and Redfield. Oftentimes you run across interesting things in small towns.

So our weekend was made joyful with two interesting days with excellent food. Thankfully, there are still more dinners to come.

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