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franklin county times

Mediator Barbecue' nears…
But menu has more than just beef

By Staff
TASTY TREAT Gerri Holladay spoons chocolate icing on some of the approximately 300 eclairs she will make for the 33rd Annual Church of the Mediator's Barbecue on Saturday. Holladay pours extra icing in the pan so barbecue volunteers have more to nibble on once the eclairs are sold. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Nov. 13, 2002
Mouth-watering barbecue with all the trimmings is not the only item on the menu at the 33rd Annual Church of the Mediator Barbecue.
Church member Gerri Holladay will prepare almost 300 homemade eclairs stuffed with custard and drizzled with chocolate. The eclairs will sell for $5 each.
Holladay, a member of the church since the 1950s, said she looks forward to the annual event but is exhausted afterwards.
Tradition begins
Holladay began making the eclairs about 30 years ago. The first year she made a dozen and said the tradition just grew from there.
On Friday, the shells will be laid out to thaw. They will be placed in the oven for a few minutes and then stuffed with her secret custard recipe.
Holladay said she will use about 30 pounds of confectioners' sugar, 24 packages of unsweetened chocolate and 14 dozen eggs to make the delectable desserts.
The eclairs are placed in large dress boxes, donated from the Liberty Shop and lined with tin foil. Holladay pours a tasty chocolate icing on top of the eclairs.
Holladay said people get so excited when she arrives with the boxes full of the dessert that they scream out "They're here, they're here!"
Barbecue plates
In addition to the eclairs, barbecue plates will sell for $6 and include barbecue pork or beef, coleslaw, baked beans and Texas toast. Barbecue meat is also available at $18.50 for a 3-pound bag.
The barbecue is the church's only fund-raiser. All money raised from the event goes to benefit local charities. Last year, the church made more than $15,000.
While all the cooking and selling is now done at the church, the event began more than 30 years ago at the fairgrounds during the Mississippi/Alabama State Fair.
The church set up a booth at the fair and served breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After many years, church members moved the event to the church grounds and what is now known as the "Mediator Barbecue" began.
Preparations for the event actually began months in advance. A large pit to cook the pork and beef is dug by volunteers and items for the freezer sale are prepared.
Saturday's barbecue also will feature children's activities, where kids can create a Christmas ornament and get their face painted, and a freezer bake sale, with everything from vegetable dishes and chili to a variety of soups and meat entrees.
The event is hosted by members of the church and all participate in some way.