The Spring Lake Lutheran Church will be hosting an Election Day Dinner again this year. Photo by Don Blegen
The Spring Lake Lutheran Church will be hosting an Election Day Dinner again this year. Photo by Don Blegen

Submitted by Donna Blegen, Spring Lake Lutheran Church

TOWN OF SPRING LAKE, WI – The Spring Lake Lutheran Church will be hosting an Election Day Dinner again this year. This long-standing tradition was discussed recently at a meeting of the church women's group, the WELCA, or Women of the Evangelical Church of America. 

When asked how long ago this tradition began, some of the senior members estimated that it's been going on for at least 100 YEARS!  Dorothy Nelson of Elmwood was married at the church in the early 1940's and is sure that the event had been happening long before that.  The church is located across the road from the Spring Lake Township polling place and we assume that's why the tradition began. The dinner was always held once every four years at the time of our country's presidential election, but in recent years, by popular request, it has been happening every two years.

Those same senior WELCA members shared their memories about what food was prepared in the past. Chicken was always on the menu, probably because most of the farmwomen raised their own poultry at that time.  The other essential thing the women remembered was the EGG COFFEE!  It seems that this was another long-standing tradition for Lutheran church gatherings of Scandinavian-Americans in the Midwest.  Dorothy Nelson, Judy Jensen, and Betty Larson (all residents of Welcome Home in Elmwood) recalled how it was made, and I'm hoping I got this down correctly!  An egg was mixed with the coffee grounds before brewing the coffee and added to a big pot of cold water.  Soon after it starts boiling, the grounds clump together and float to the top.  The ladies said that this clarifies the coffee and takes out the bitterness. 

Spring Lake Lutheran Church was formed in the 1870's by several local Norwegian families. Its original name was St. Paul Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first church building was completed in 1896.  That building was destroyed by a tornado in 1930, and the present church was completed in 1932.  The church is now known around the region for its copper steeple, glinting in the sunlight at the intersection of County Road B and Highway 128 between Elmwood and Spring Valley, and for the huge wooden cross in the parking area.  The cross was built by Randy Nyeggen from an unusual notched beam, which is believed to have come from the original church.  The Church address is N4190 County Road B, Spring Valley, Wisconsin, and the phone number is 715 772-3125.

This year's 2018 Election Day Dinner will, of course, be served on Election Day, November 6, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.  No chicken or egg coffee on the menu, but there will be a big home-cooked meal.  The meal will include meatballs, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, vegies, and homemade pie all for a Free Will donation and Take-outs are available.  The Spring Lake Lutheran women encourage everyone to attend the dinner and to be sure to VOTE!