Saturday will be special in Dunbar, even if it rains.
Getting a little wet is nothing compared to sampling exotic dishes like goat chili and gator gumbo.
The annual Critter Dinner has previously featured ostrich and camel meat, but this year’s specialty will be kangaroo.
Anyone in the mood for kangaroo meatloaf?
How about smoked rabbit wings or deep-fried shark?
Bub Jones, Dunbar’s interim Parks and Recreation director, said folks enjoy sampling the wild game dishes like Rocky Mountain oysters.
“Kangaroo is very lean so we’ll add a little bit of ground meat and some pork sausage to make it stay together.”
Back in the old days, dishes like possum stew were served.
Some folks affectionately referred to it as roadkill.
Now, however, offerings have the federal inspectors’ approval and are purchased for the annual event.
Less adventurous diners will also have a place at the table.
Traditional items including turkey, shredded smoked pork butt, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, kale greens, cornbread and rolls are on the menu too.
But it’s more than just good food.
It also benefits a good cause, the Dunbar-Institute Samaritan Center.
Diners can donate $5 or five non-perishable food items, and all proceeds benefit the food pantry.
As many as 2,000 people now flock to the popular event which was launched by Mayor Frank Leon in 1974.
It’s more popular than even now, and serves as a community reunion of sorts.
Some folks arrive hours early just to be in the front of the line. Doors open at noon, and the food is usually gone by 2:30.
Volunteers are vital, and city workers also pitch in to help.
Jones said it takes months to plan the event, and city Convention and Visitors Bureau Director JoAnn Cornell is a co-organizer.
“People get all excited about the food, and that’s good. But they have no idea how much JoAnn and everybody else does behind the scenes to make this dinner happen.”
It is held at the recreation center, 2601 Fairlawn Ave., Dunbar. Parking will be at Shawnee Park, and visitors will be bused to the center.