Rio’s 150th Bean Dinner set for Saturday

By C. Robert Leith - Special to the Tribune

RIO GRANDE — This Saturday, Aug. 14, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Village of Rio Grande and its Memorial Association will host the 150th Bean Dinner at the University of Rio Grande Bob Evans Shelter House.

The public is welcome and all veterans are encouraged to attend this yearly event to be recognized.

This event was started in 1870 by the village residents to honor returning United States soldiers who had served in the Civil War (1861-1865). This Civil War tradition welcomed those who “may have had ties with the Confederacy” and “all men of color.” Late 19th century fare consisted of strong and bitter black coffee, hardtack, and soup beans cooked over a wood-fed fire (similar to soldier foods eaten in the recent War). Today, the Civil War beans will be supplemented by homemade cornbread, homemade pies, Bob Evans sausage sandwiches, iced water, coffee and soft drinks. Additional charges occur for foods and drinks beyond the basic water, coffee and beans.

According to organizers, “There will be good food, musical entertainment, Civil War displays and lectures, event, and unparalleled fellowship.”

All veterans and all who “serve and sacrifice” are welcome and admitted free of charge. Admission prices for the general public are as follows: 10 years of age and older, admission fees are $4. Those 9 years of age and under are admitted free. Attenders may take beans home with them for an additional fee of $5 per bucket.

Although the last Civil War veteran passed away in 1959 at age 117, the tradition to honor all veterans lives on in Rio Grande.

Further information can be received by calling Coach David Smalley at 740-709-4971.

”The Rio Grande Memorial Association hopes to see you at this most significant and historic event at which Ohio’s best beans will be served,” stated organizers of the event via a news release. “This year we have expanded our program and displays to develop a truer Civil War environment. All proceeds benefit the Village of Rio Grande, civic organizations and University student groups.”

The 150th Rio Grande Bean Dinner is sponsored by: Ohio Valley Bank, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College, Willis Funeral Home, Bob’s Market and Greenhouses, Inc., Davies Contracting, LLC, French City Foods, Bob Evans Farms.

By C. Robert Leith

Special to the Tribune