RIO GRANDE — The Rio Grande Memorial Association is once again gearing up for its annual bean dinner in honor of veterans everywhere.
Committee members met at the Rio Grande Municipal Building Wednesday and discussed remaining steps to get the word out to the public and discuss some of the history of the dinner over the years. This will be the 146th year the event has been held. The committee invites all members of the public and veterans are strongly encouraged to attend the event to be recognized. The event will be held Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bob Evans Farm’s Shelter House.
Committee members say the event was first hosted in 1870 by village residents to honor returning U.S. soldiers who had served in the America Civil War, dated from 1861 to 1865. The tradition welcomed those who “may have had ties with the Confederacy” and “all men of color,” according to C. Robert Leith historian and former University of Rio Grande professor C. Robert Leith. Late 19th century fare consisted of bitter, strong black coffee, hardtack and soup beans cooked over a wood-fed fire, much like the food recently eaten by soldiers in the war. Today’s dinner has the beans supplemented with homemade cornbread, homemade pies, Bob Evans sausage sandwiches, iced water, coffee and soft drinks. Additional charges are added beyond just water, coffee and beans.
Committee members say the event only makes enough money to continue running future bean dinners in the future. Musical entertainment is expected to be presented at the dinner, the history of the event as told by local historians and community fellowship. President Michelle Johnson of the Rio Grande Community College and University of Rio Grande is anticipated to give a welcoming announcement to crowd goers. Veterans are welcomed free of charge.
Individuals 10 and older are admitted for $4. Those 9 and under are admitted free. Attenders are encouraged to take home a bucket of beans at the cost of $5 a bucket.
“Although the last Civil War veteran passed away in 1959 at the age of 117, the tradition to honor all veterans lives on in Rio Grande,” wrote Leith in a statement to the Tribune.
For more information, individuals can call Dave Smaley at 740-709-4971 or Clark Walker at the Bob Evans Farm Office at 740-245-5305.