The Jacksonville Order of Odd Fellows is hosting its first annual burgoo in town this Saturday. The burgoo is going to benefit a scholarship program. The money raised will go toward two scholarships for students entering a college or trade school.
Chalmer Herring of the Jacksonville Lodge #4 says that its been many years since the City of Jacksonville has hosted a burgoo. He says the last one that he can remember taking place in Jacksonville or South Jacksonville was in the late 1960s. He says that the Odd Fellows lodge of Winchester has held one for the last several years, and the Jacksonville lodge wanted to try the idea: “We are starting this for Jacksonville, which we have done a few scholarships before but it has been from money we collected and had on hand from our businesses we got money from for rent. Our purpose now is to start the burgoo to totally fund the scholarships or help with people going on to trade school, which is not necessarily going to a four-year college but help with trade school costs.”
Herring says the majority of the money raised in the past for scholarships has come through rent gathered from businesses who operate in the downstairs of their buildings on East State Street. He says paying for trade school student’s education is in line with their fraternal order’s origins. The Odd Fellows date back to the 1700s in England, and Herring says, the order consisted of people who exercised unusual, miscellaneous “odd trades”, eventually joining together to provide financial security to widows, orphans, and those of low socio-economic backgrounds – often helping them find such things as financial support, education, and in some cases a proper burial when they could not afford one.
Herring says Morgan County itself has had a long tradition of burgoo, dating recipes back to the settlement of the area from pioneers who came up from Kentucky. Herring says that he possesses a scrap book of history compiled by his family of the first public burgoo held at Point Church (currently known as Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church). More info about the history of burgoo can be found in this article by Greg Olson in the Journal Courier from 2003.
Herring says the weekend service is drive thru style along Blackburn Street on the East side of Jacksonville: “You can come in off of State Street or College. We will have signs on both streets that say ‘Burgoo.’ There will be an ‘Enter’ and ‘Exit’ sign where people can drive through and pick up. Gallons of burgoo are $29 if you have your own container, but it’s $3 more if you don’t have your own container – so it would then be $32. It’s all pretty much to make some money and pay for the expense of the ingredients.”
Food service begins at 7AM Saturday at 131 Blackburn Street, just across the railroad tracks on either East State Street or East College Avenue.