It’s a prairie tradition. At the end of every harvest season, groups of community volunteers gather together in church basements, Legion halls and community centres to prepare a feast.
An annual fall (or fowl) supper is the celebration of another successful harvest before the snow arrives. It’s also a fundraiser for the group or community putting it on.
Growing up in the rural farming community of Leslie, Saskatchewan, I experienced the amazing community connection around these events and suppers every year.
Leslie is small. In fact, it’s considered a hamlet now as the population today is under 15 residents. But like many small communities, the surrounding area is populated by farming families with big hearts always ready to lend their time and a helping hand.
As a young child, I looked forward to playing in the park with all the other kids in the community. We would run around town, getting into harmless mischief while our parents volunteered at the supper. As I got older, I committed my time to volunteering and helping set-up and clear tables for the next line-up of people ready to eat.
But my favourite part was having my choice of a slice of homemade pie in pretty much any flavour: chocolate, banana cream, pumpkin, apple and Saskatoon berry. And sometimes – if there were leftovers – I got to have two pieces.
Fall Suppers are often also called Fowl Suppers. But both are correct (and if you say it quickly, no one really knows which version you used since both sound similar). When the meat provided was goose, duck or turkey the term fowl was more relevant. Today, turkey is still served but beef or sausage can also be the main meat dishes rather than duck or goose.
Fowl suppers in Saskatchewan occur every weekend from late September right through till November. While not every community hosts one, you won’t have to travel too far to find one going on.
The way the suppers work is simple. Long tables fill up the community centre or hall. On arrival, you’ll pay for your meal right inside the door – usually only 15 to 20 dollars (make sure to bring cash as few halls or churches accept credit cards). Fall suppers are often so popular there’s a lineup of people outside the door waiting so you’ll want to go early. Once paid, take your ticket (if given one) to the table of food. The meal is set out buffet-style, usually with a section for salads and main dishes as well as dessert and drinks like coffee, juice and water.
Foods served at a fall supper are very traditional to Saskatchewan and farming communities. They’re similar to what you would eat at a thanksgiving meal. Most popular are potatoes, gravy, stuffing, turkey, sausage, beef, perogies, cabbage rolls and a variety of salads from tossed and Caesar to wheat salad, potato salad, macaroni salad and more. The best part is every dish has been homemade and donated by the locals in that particular community.
Sometimes, there’s also entertainment at fall suppers. If you stay late enough, the tables get pushed aside and everyone takes some time to enjoy a bit of music and dancing.
Here are some Fowl Suppers you can attend this fall:
Once you’ve picked the community you plan to support for their annual fall supper, make sure to check out Mysask411 to look up all the other great stores, shops and deals in town.
*If you would like your communities Fowl Supper listed here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Ashlyn George is a travel blogger extraordinaire and former Saskatchewanderer.
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