94 years and counting; Holy Trinity cooks up fastnachts
Today is Fat Tuesday and in Central PA, that means fastnachts. Holy Trinity Church in Columbia will cook up over 84,000 of the doughy goodness over the next couple of weeks. It's a tradition that has combined faith and food for 94 years.
"The pressure is always on us to make them just right," said Holy fryer Tom Feltenberger.
For the past 94 years, the pressure has been on at Holy Trinity in Columbia. Volunteers will cook up 7,000 dozen during the lenten season.
"We have people here from all walks of life, all different denominations come in, and they just love Fastnachts. And they enjoy this camaraderie," said Holy roller Ed Wickenheiser.
The camraderie starts the night before, as volunteers mix the dough. After sitting all night, 25 dedicated souls rise at 4 a.m. to cut the rising dough.
"I have such a good time. I am doing it for the love of God and my parish," said Holy roller Kathy Lutz.
It's been 43 years and counting for Kathy Lutz. Side-by-side with her 90-year-old mother-in-law keeps her coming back every year.
"It’s just wonderful. A lot of camraderie and good friends," she said.
"It’s a real talent that takes you 10 years to learn," Feltenberger said.
While it's only been 14 years for Feltenberger on the fryers, fastnachts are in his geneology
"My grandmother did it. My mother did it. My sister did it. I do it. My wife did it," he said.
Each frying day, Feltenberger will crank out over 100 dozen fastnachts. The work leaves h im tired, but longing for more.
"It’s just a lot of fun. You see some of these people just once a year and you have that camaraderie," he said.
"It’s a job. It’s a labor of love," said Jim Knapp.
Unfortunately, Holy Trinity is all sold out. People wait all year to preorder the church's fundraising food.