Chicken and dumplings reinstated at Sevier County Fair

Church kitchen inspected; sales fund youth trips
Sep. 04, 2013 @ 06:12 PM

After a brief hiatus that didn’t quite last all of one day, Sevierville First United Methodist Church was back selling chicken and dumplings Wednesday at the Sevier County Fair.

The church, which has been selling food at the fair for decades, stopped briefly after some issues arose with the Sevier County Health Department over how the food came to the vending site, youth director Sara Pierce said.

The church kitchen and the church’s booth were inspected, and by Wednesday the chicken and dumplings were back at the fair.

“We will be selling chicken and dumplings (Wednesday night) and the rest of the week,” Pierce said.

Joe Loy, director of the Sevier County Health Department, said the issue arose when a health inspector realized not all the food served at the booth was being cooked on location, and that the church’s kitchen needed a new inspection for certification.

“The kitchen they made the food in was not permitted,” Loy said. “Everything we check has to be from an approved location.”

Department personnel inspected the kitchen Wednesday morning and allowed the church to return to selling its food at the fair, he said. He stressed there were never any complaints made to the health department about the food.

Pierce said the revenues from the booth are used to help finance summer mission trips for the youth group.

“It is the primary source. It is not the sole source, but it’s the primary source,” she said. “A week can cover almost half our summer missions.”

Last year, the youth made more than $10,000 from the sale.

The youth groups generally go on trips to different locations; next year, the senior group is planning a mission trip to Anchorage, Ala.

Pierce said the church has been selling food at the fair as long as anyone can remember. “I know back as far as the '40s and '50s, the Methodists were selling food at the Fair.”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com