MEIGS COUNTY — Election Day Dinners have a long tradition in the Ohio Valley. While no one can say definitively why or when the dinners began, there are several ideas as to the origins.
In the past, voting was an event, a right to be celebrated. The United States was a young nation and many people traveled quite a distance to vote. Polling places were a gathering place on Election Day for the community, and quite often a celebration would be held. Since there were few, if any, eating establishments in the early pioneer community, people brought their own food to polling places.
Churches, schools or private homes were typical polling places, an ideal site in which to host a dinner. Community groups began using the dinners as fundraisers, having the benefit of voters as ready made customers.
With so many cooks in the Meigs area, people began to look forward to Election Day dinners and over the years, the dinners have gained in popularity. Many voters are disappointed if their polling place doesn’t offer one.
The menus reflects the local quinine, and each Election Day site has its own specialty that diners have come to expect on Election Day.
Last Tuesday’s general election saw an abundance of Election Dinners. The aroma alone seemingly was enough to entice voters to the dining area. Folks enjoyed vegetable soup made with canned ingredients from local gardens, chicken and noodles, hot dogs with homemade sauce and a variety of pies and cakes. Many people bring their own containers for take-out soup to enjoy later.
There is also a sense of community at the dinners, as patrons enjoy visiting with one another and catching up on the latest news. Whatever the origins of Election Day dinners in Meigs County, it is now an established tradition, and for most people in the county, a big part of Election Day.
Share your Election Day dinner photos or memories on The Daily Sentinel’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dailysentinel.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.