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8/14/2013 8:47:00 AM
Barbecue is popular tradition in Veneta
Catholic Sentinel photo by Greg Long
Barbecue pit crew: Rick Bradford, Rick Davis, Mark Hartley, Darrel Spiesschaert.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Greg Long
Barbecue pit crew: Rick Bradford, Rick Davis, Mark Hartley, Darrel Spiesschaert.
Greg Long


VENETA — St. Catherine of Siena hosted its beef pit barbecue last month, as it has been done on the last Sunday in July for the past 58 years.

The big draw of the event is the beef — 1,500 pounds of beef are slow cooked in a pit with oak wood. Darrel Spiesschaert has been on the pit crew since 1977.

Parishioner Sue Hallert has helped at the community fundraiser for more than 40 years and now leads the organizing committee.

“At any given time we have 100 volunteers working non-stop. It is the largest running picnic of its kind in Lane County,” she said.

“In the past four to five years, attendance has gone up,” Spiesschaert said. “We’ve had to add more meat.”

Guests receive a generous serving of beef along with secret sauce, beans, coleslaw, bread and butter and dessert. Around a thousand meals are served each year.

In addition to food, St. Catherine puts on a community festival with bingo, silent auctions, raffles, games for all ages, music, entertainment, classic cars.

The barbecue is St. Catherine’s biggest fundraiser each year.



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