Open Door Baptist Church ‘Sportsmen’s Banquet’ will be as good as always

Former ‘Wild Game Dinner’ will change menu but nothing else, pastor says

— This Saturday, Feb. 1, the Open Door Baptist Church in New Woodstock will hold its 29th annual dinner and presentations for local outdoor enthusiasts. The event, which typically draws about 300 people, will be the same as it has every year with the exception of dinner: the previous homemade dishes made from wild game brought by attendees will not be allowed, and instead a pulled park barbecue will be served.

Open Door Pastor David DeLeon said this year’s slight change should not deter any people interested in attending, since the usual displays of trophies, firearms, fishing tackle and trapping supplies will be on there, and there will be flytying demonstrations and seminars, an antler scoring booth, door prizes and an evening presentation on deer and turkey hunting tips.

“We certainly encourage people to come even if there is no wild game dish to pass — we don’t think they’ll be disappointed,” DeLeon said. And the pulled pork dinner, which will be prepared on-site by a church member who is also a chef, is “gonna be real good.”

The annual “Sportsmen’s Dinner” — formerly called the “Wild Game Dinner” — has been a free event for nearly 30 years for hunters and non-hunters, Open Door Church members and non-members, who enjoy the outdoors, the fellowship and camaraderie of sharing their passion and also have a love of the Christian gospel in their lives.

“This is a sportsmen’s community … it’s a real draw,” DeLeon said. “The purpose of this is to reach out to sportsmen and women in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The locally known event gained regional notoriety last year when the Madison County Department of Health showed up about 15 minutes into the event and said serving homemade wild game dishes without a permit violated the county health code. They said all the food had to be taken out of the building and put back in everyone’s vehicles in order to avoid prosecution for a public health hazard.

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