Mantua – The gray skies didn’t deter folks from going to St. Joseph’s Ox Roast in Mantua this past weekend. Folks ventured out Friday night to watch the karaoke-style Ox Idol Contest and antique tractor pulls. Others took a stroll along the midway and enjoyed many fair treats, including ox roast sandwiches, ox dinners and ox sundaes. Ox sundaes consisted of mashed potatoes covered in roast ox and gravy, topped with sour cream and a cherry tomato. It was delish! The day was topped off with fireworks, making it an evening to remember.
Saturday morning was rainy and dreary. The rain caused the cancellation of the ever-popular garden tractor pulls, which disappointed many fair-goers. All day long folks were tent hopping trying to keep dry. Many day-time fair-goers enjoyed watching the bands and the dancers from the 8th Count Dance Center.
The highlight of Saturday was the semi/tractor pulls. The rain did not prevent the featured event of the night from happening. Late day, the crowds began forming, looking to secure a prime seat for the semi/tractor pulls. Before too long, the stands were full and the pulls were ready to begin.
Those not into the pulls could watch Ox Idol or listen to live music on the main stage. Now, it would not be a festival without politicians, food vendors, and, of course, rides, There were plenty to choose from, giving fair-goers their festival fix. There also was a casino, instant bingo and a beer garden to keep folks occupied.
There was plenty for the kids to do as well. They had the usual rides, plus they had activities in Oxland for the kids. On Saturday they held kiddie tractor pulls, which attracted many youngsters. Saturday and Sunday afternoon they had balloon artist, Jason Adkins on hand to entertain the kids with his many balloon characters.
The events slated for Sunday were a frog jumping contest, the four wheel drive pulls, live music by Tyrone’s Blues Sensation (T.B.S.) and the main raffle drawing. The main raffle was $5000 for first place and a $500 Kalahari resort gift card for second place.
The Ox Roast was started 51 years ago and was originally created to be a fundraiser for the parish school. Since the closing of the school, the parish uses the proceeds from the event to supports its many ministries.
The success of the event lies in the cooking of the meat. They trim, season and cook 3,500 pounds of sirloin for the event in brick-lined pits. It takes days to reach the proper temperature so the sirloins roast to perfection. Once the meat is roasted and cooled, they slice it and get it ready to serve in their dinners, sandwiches and sundaes.