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Annual Presbyterian Irish Stew has storied history
It all started at the Mayflower
chu slt stew
Volunteers cut up vegetables for the 2014 Presbyterian Irish Stew. The tradition continues this year, with serving from 4:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church at 24th and Washington in Great Bend. - photo by Tribune file photo

The public is invited to the First Presbyterian Church for the 54th Annual Irish Stew. Their famous stew recipe and delicious pie will be served 4:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church at 24th & Washington Streets in Great Bend.
Tickets are $7 and available at the door; pre-school children eat free. Carry-out can be purchased and picked up at the northeast entry of the church. Reserved parking is provided for carry-outs.

Stewards of the stew
Club members Earl Fox and Dan Bonine provided a bit of history on this community tradition:
Back in the early 1960s, men attending the First Presbyterian Church used to gather at the old Mayflower Cafe on Forest Ave. in downtown Great Bend. That’s where cafe owner Ed Bartley perfected the Irish Stew recipe that still has folks “lickin’ their chops” decades later. This wonderful tradition continues as family and friends meet to enjoy the popular Irish dish.
Using the highest quality ingredients, choice beef and the freshest of vegetables remains a key to the ongoing success of this traditional.
The Presbyterian Men will begin preparations on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday morning, March 16th, they load 30 big roaster ovens and the cooking begins. The men claim to be the cooks, but thank the women of the church and the mothers of the Scouts for providing the pies. The church-sponsored Scout Troop No. 157 and its leaders also lend a hand in preparation for this event and then in “rolling out the red carpet” for guests.