It’s Time to Go ‘Ground Hog Wild’ in Yukon

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In case you hadn’t heard, Yukon’s once-a-year community feast is just around the corner!

Event coordinator Russ Kline made his annual early January pilgrimage to your Yukon Progress office to tell us about plans for the 64th Annual Ground Hog Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Yukon’s First United Methodist Church, 400 Elm. Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., featuring “all you can eat” Czech-style sauerkraut and ribs, new potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and sausage patties; with desserts sold by church preschoolers.

This belt-loosening feed is truly a Yukon tradition! Back in the early years, almost everyone in Yukon went to the Ground Hog Dinner.

Although the Yukon “community” has grown, attendance has remained steady over the past couple decades although it was up a tick last year. Some 1,320 meals were served in 2019, more are expected this time.

(Russ says he has enough food to feed 2,000 people … so let’s all invite someone to go with us!)

Russ and his team of dedicated Ground Hog Dinner volunteers do yeoman’s work planning, organizing, presenting, and cleaning up. Russ has done an admirable job following in the footsteps of the late Bob “Boss Hog” Schwaninger, who coordinated this event for decades.

The menu has remained the same all these years and my mouth is watering just thinking about the food. (NOTE: The meal is not actually ground hog; but pork sausage)

The Ground Hog Dinner is an “all-church” effort, with about 150 church members helping. And volunteers come from outside the church; for several years, your’s truly even slaved over a hot stove on Bob Noll’s early-morning, gravy-making crew.

You’ll read more about the Feb. 1st Ground Hog Dinner next week in your Yukon Progress print edition. Mark your calendars and make plans to buy advance tickets ($9 for adults/$4 for children under 12) soon!

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I recently was invited to lunch at Spanish Cove Retirement Village by CEO/administrator Don Blose, who updated me on the goings-on at Yukon’s premier lifecare retirement community.

Don gave me a tour of the Cove’s recent health center expansion project and talked about plans for a four-story, independent living facility. This new building will be constructed on Vandament between Redbud and Cornwell where the strip shopping center now stands just north of the existing Spanish Cove campus.

I enjoyed a tasty, nutritious lunch in the Cove dining room with Don and Cove resident Esther Winterfeldt. Esther has started writing a semi-regular article to tell Yukon Progress readers about the many interesting people who live and work at Spanish Cove.

Our new freelance writer, Carol Mowdy Bond, also will be profiling some well-known Oklahomans now living at Spanish Cove who have fascinating tales to tell!

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As Yukon Chamber of Commerce members are well aware, the chamber will literally roll out the red carpet on Friday, Jan. 31 for its annual celebration gala at Dale and Tracy Bogle’s Palace Event Center. Theme is “A Night Among the Stars” and more than 400 people are expected to attend.

Eric Peters and Spanish Cove Catering will provide the dinner, and I have it on good authority that Marilyn Monroe and a couple other Hollywood bigshots will be there!

This year, volunteers are working behind the scenes to make the annual awards presentation extra-special. I know cause I’m one of those volunteers.

We are conducting video interviews of people talking about this year’s award winners, whose identities won’t be revealed until the gala. This has required plenty of secrecy among the interviewees!

The video shown Jan. 31 will highlight the announcement of Yukon’s H.B. Frank Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Large and Small Business of the Year, T.J. Lowery Humanitarian of the Year, and Ambassador of the Year.

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A news intern recently joined our Yukon Progress family. She is Yukon High School journalism student Madie Moore, granddaughter of former Yukon School Board Member Dave Moore.

Madie has jumped right in and is helping out in several areas. She will be enhancing our online and social media presence, posting stories regularly to the Yukon Progress website and Facebook pages.

If you haven’t checked out our website or Facebook page, now is the time! I like telling people they can even read Yukon’s news and sports a few days earlier than they would just getting the print copy…

Anyway, you’ll see Madie’s byline on some stories and she’s really looking forward to covering the Feb. 1st Yukon Chocolate Festival. Madie is a great addition to our team.

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We are down one chicken restaurant after Zaxby’s closed. Time to recruit Grandy’s.

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Mike Salazar recently sold the Paradise Event Center on Main Street (former location of Golden Corral). Another church has been added to the Main Street landscape – Liberty Church.

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Many people celebrated quietly when the semi-truck that was parked awhile on the vacant land at the northeast corner of Main Street and Highway 4 drove away.