The History of the Groton Chicken Pie Supper
By Diane Kries
The Fall Foliage Festival began in Danville in 1955 in an effort to capture some of the tourist dollars flowing through the area. The efforts were so successful there that the activities were expanded to include other towns and villages in the area. The Groton Fall Foliage Festival came about in 1956 when Groton followed Danville’s lead and began to captures some of the tourist dollars for themselves by joining the Northeast Kingdom’s Fall Festival. Organizers of the Festival tried to find a different theme for each town and Groton was given the theme of Lumberjacks and thus the Lumberjack Breakfast was born. This has been held at the Groton Methodist Church ever since. The parade and local events have grown since that first year with numerous vendors selling their wares and a variety of musical talents gracing the bandstand across from the former Groton General Store. The BMU Band provides the music for the parade and others provide entertainment throughout the day at the Bandstand. The Evening Hymn Sing has been held at 8:00 p.m. for as long as anyone can remember and this year will be held at the Baptist Church. The first Saturday in October has always been our day and come rain. Snow, or shine, leaves on the trees or off –we go for it.
The annual Chicken Pie Supper is the cornerstone of the Groton Fall Festival. It began in 1954 when the local men’s club decided to raise money to help fund the hot lunch program at the school. Many questioned the success of an all man run dinner. Those naysayers were proven wrong, but the men were not too prideful to accept the help of womenfolk the following year. As the years went by the profits from the Chicken Pie Supper were used to fund numerous improvements at the Groton School. Funds are now used to fund annual swimming lessons at Boulder Beach on Lake Groton, library programs at the Groton Public Library, and to provide college scholarships to Groton’s graduating seniors.
This event is truly a town event. Rarely is any family able to escape the determined efforts of the coordinators of the supper. If you are not making apple or pumpkin pies, then you are likely making chicken pie or waiting on tables, or dishing up side dishes, or even doing the dishes downstairs. Once you have committed to volunteering in some way for this event the only way to escape is to leave town and that is not always a guarantee, especially if a relative is a coordinator!
That evening you will partake of 832 pounds of chicken, 300 pounds of potato, 400 pounds of a carefully guarded secret squash recipe, and 52 gallons of gravy. This Chicken Pie Supper is so great that it has been written up in Family Circle Magazine and in Yankee Magazine. So enjoy, tell your friends about us, and thank you all for your support of our community.