3rd Annual Claire Finley Memorial Beef and Beer
All you Can Eat and Drink: $30
The idea of a fundraiser centered around food is by no means a novelty. There's the pasta dinner, the bake sale, even the occasional young thug on the subway selling Snickers. If I were any sort of food philosopher, I would launch into food being the stuff of community, but I'm more of a glutton and a people watcher. If you're a like-minded individual, you ought to check out Philadelphia's version of last month's Beefsteak Dinner, the Beef and Beer, another tour de force of heavy eating and drinking, but this time with raffles and a disc jockey.
In lieu of butter soaked tenderloin on toast, the Beef and Beer offers chafing dish after chafing dish of slow roasted beef, fresh horseradish, baked ziti (aka "zeets"), and two kinds of potato salad, German, and the kind swimming in mayonnaise. And instead of helping yourself to Bud Light cans in strategically placed coolers, the Beef and Beer offers endless pitchers of Miller Lite, the best light beer ever created.
Once the belly's full (usually two to three plates piled high), one can attempt to burn calories by taking a stroll through the aisles created by the raffle baskets. Or, if the beer's doing what it's supposed to do, one can head straight to the dance floor. After a few songs, a giant candy bar shows up in the hands of the guy running the show (Gene Finely, brother of Claire, a real freakin' awesome dude), and the dance contest begins. Some dude took his shirt off, but it was the Asian breakdancer that walked away with the 5 lb. chocolate monstrosity after a flawlessly executed windmill.
And the evening rolls along. Line dancing, more beer, and finally, the basket raffles. Another year, another beef and beer. Thanks to my mother-in-law, not only did I get to stuff my face, but I was also blessed with having a designated driver. Much more than the raffles, the sense of community one observes at these events has to be the most rewarding take-away, and I hope I'm around next year and the year after that to be a part of it. Buen Provecho.