Game feed benefits Shawano FFA programs

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski The Shawano Lake County Park pavilion was packed Saturday night as the Shawano FFA and Shawano FFA Alumni held their fifth annual wild game feed. Proceeds benefit local high school agriculture programs, including a new greenhouse at Shawano Community High School.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Sonya Schoepke, of Shawano, holds out her tray for a helping of venison barbecue from Cathy Pescinski during Saturday’s wild game feed at the Shawano Lake County Park pavilion. The event gave attendees a chance to try dishes made from pheasant, goose and even raccoon.

Nothing tasted like chicken, but nobody seemed to mind.

FFA supporters packed the Shawano Lake County Park pavilion for Saturday’s fifth annual wild game feed, sponsored by the Shawano FFA and Shawano FFA Alumni. People stood in line to get a taste of bluegill, venison, goose brats, pheasant — even raccoon.

The event continues to grow, according to Steve Stomberg, one of the FFA advisers. The wild game feed is a major fundraiser for FFA projects. In addition to trying the food itself, patrons got to participate in raffles and auctions featuring items donated by community businesses.

“When you look at the people who have shown for this, the good time that they have, everybody is leaving happy,” Stomberg said. “They get a good variety of food. I’ve never heard of anyone who has left here hungry.”

Most folks scooped up the food on their first go-round, though, as some who went back for seconds were greeted by empty crock pots and warming trays.

“We’ve got a lot of support in this community for our agriculture program,” Stomberg said. “Our alumni believe in continuing the support. We’ve got our local people, but we’ve also got people coming all the way over from Denmark for this.”

A final tally on how much was raised was unavailable by press time. But much of this year’s money will go toward a a new greenhouse project at the Shawano Community High School, to which the FFA and FFA Alumni have pledged $20,000 for a concrete slab and utilities. The Shawano School District will pay almost $90,000 for the greenhouse itself.

The wild game feed emerged as a fundraiser in 2014 after support waned for a previous annual event — a toy tractor show, according to Stomberg.

“They do it in Denmark, and it’s a great success,” Stomberg said. “With this, there are a variety of foods. There’s something different every year that people are bringing in. People love to come and try this stuff. They’re walking around with their trays, and they’re completely full.”

Ken Seering, the FFA adviser from Denmark who suggested Shawano do its own wild game feed, has worked the Shawano event all five years. He brought the bluegill that patrons enjoyed, as well as brats from geese.

“The reason that I help the Shawano FFA out is that I was their president back in 1962,” Seering said.

Seering, a longtime agriculture teacher, admitted the goose brats were an “unusual recipe,” but they were made at Village Meats in Denmark specifically for the event.

“We have a guy back in Denmark that shoots a lot of geese,” Seering said. “At Village Meats, a former student of mine makes them.”