Bloomfield’s Smokin’ Smorgasbord was held Saturday at the Bloomfield Sports Complex. Over fourteen smokers brought all kinds of meat to the event, which was held as a fundraiser for the new lights at the sports complex, also known as the grandstand at the county fair.
Smokers brought everything from well known favorites to unusual, surprisingly delicious smoked meats including brisket, turkey, chicken and even tuna and mystery meats such as cow tongue and heart. Of course, taste testers were not told they were eating tongue and heart until after they tried it.
The event drew a nice sized crowd, and smokers were running out of meats, including the cow tongue, by 7 p.m., which was rather impressive since the event had just started an hour before.
There were also salads, chips, bars and lemonade for all who came to enjoy the smorgasbord.
Phil Schroeder was one of the many smokers who participated in the smorgasbord.
“It was a good day, we all just sat around and visited while everything was cooking. It was a lot like tailgating,” Schroeder said.
It wasn’t all fun and games, as the event took some planning. Wally Holz organized the whole event and even held a meeting for all the smokers so they could plan what meats would be made by who, ensuring a big variety of meats.
All of the delicious food was free with a free will donation at the gate. One hundred percent of the donations went to the light project, and the meat and other food was all donated by the smokers for the event.
Schroeder said the donations to date have been a little slower than expected. However, the smorgasbord raised over $4,000, and he is very pleased with that.
He also said the smorgasbord was so successful the smokers would like to continue doing it every year.
“We would like to do it again, bigger and better and benefit something different every year,” Schroeder said.
At Bloomfield’s city council meeting on April 9, it was said that the city had paid one-third of the $198,741.46 and $131,000 was still owed. The city took out a loan for $131,000 to pay for the remaining balance of the project.
The project needed to be done, and waiting to raise the money first would have put the project off too far said Schroeder.
“The lights were outdated. It was not a safe setup and it was time they be replaced,” he said.
According to Schroeder, estimates for new lights have been looked at for the last 20 years. The city applied for a Game and Parks Grant to help fund the lights was not chosen.
The city is planning to make annual payments on the loan but also hoping that fundraisers, such as the successful smorgasbord, will help them pay off the remainder of the loan.
Besides the tasty food, there is an income tax credit to those who donate over $50 as another incentive to go to these fundraisers and donate.
All the smokers that participated in the Smokin' Smorgasbord, including (back row:) Wally Holz, Phil Schroeder, Sydney Schainost, Mike Schainost, Victor Hames, Les Jessen, Matt Kuchar, Keith Byrely, (front row:) Heather Keinow, Bryon Young, Andy Philips, Casey Schmeckpeper, Jolene Jessen, Connie Eckmann, and Brad Eckmann.