Its 6:00am on a Saturday in September 2015 and on Briggs Street in Old Town Erie it’s still dark, but people are starting to arrive. It’s the Erie Historical Society’s 13th Annual Biscuit Day and months of preparation and plans are starting to go into action. At Black Jack Pizza, owners Matt and Mina are already running hundreds of sausages through the pizza oven. Soon employees and volunteers will arrive to mix and roll the biscuit dough. Then out come the biscuit cutters and hundreds of biscuits are placed on sheets and run through the pizza ovens. At this hour no one knows how many customers will show up and how many biscuits they’ll need. Across the street at Miner’s Tavern, Mark Gruber is bending over his pots preparing the famous sausage gravy.
On the street tents go up, tables and chairs are put in place. Then at 7:30am the volunteers start to show up. At 7:45am a small line starts to form in front of the ticket booth. It’s a beautiful warm, sunny morning in this little Colorado town. At 8:00am the cashiers start selling tickets for breakfast. A line of smiling servers face a line of happy consumers as the plates move from server to server, each plate being filled with biscuits, sausage and then gravy. Yum! By 8:30am the line waiting to buy a meal is 15 minutes long. It’s going to be a good Biscuit Day.
As people finish their meals some move on to the Stew Contest. Samples from Azteca, Miners Tavern, Echo Brewing, Old Mine, and 24 Carrot Bistro are passed out and samplers vote for their favorite. Later when the ballots are counted we have a new winner. The trophy is passed from Old Mine, last years winner, to Erie’s newest restaurant 24 Carrot Bistro. Winning by a single ballot. That was close! Next year, just a pinch more spice, and the trophy could change hands again. Soon the Weld County Ramblers begin their toe tapping blue grass melodies. A volunteer in her period costume dances with a pretty little 3 year old.
As others finish eating and the music picks up, people linger to enjoy the atmosphere. Then the Irish dancers go into action. Tapping and stepping and twirling. Lively, happy music. Watching we see John Jacquat, the man behind Old Mine, Sweets and Pure Risk smiling and holding two of his daughters up so they can see the dancers. Further along in front of Miners Tavern is our popular Mayor, Tina Harris, comfortably relaxing with friends and taking it all in. Mingling with the crowds is a man with a dirty face, wearing a miner’s hard hat and overalls and carrying a pick. It’s Dave Johnson, alias Miner Dan adding to the atmosphere. Lots of photo opportunities there.
Further down the street people have bought $2.00 tickets for a chance to walk around The Cake Walk and possibly win one of the luscious looking baked goods. And before Biscuit Day is all over 4 people will be winners of the Annual Biscuit Day Raffle. The prizes – a beautiful hand made quilt, tickets to Boulder Dinner Theatre or a ticket packet to History Colorado Museum in Denver.
At the end of the morning the count shows over 1,000 breakfasts served. That’s close to 2,000 biscuits and 39 gallons of gravy. That makes this Biscuit Day a very successful one for Erie Historical Society’s annual fund raiser. So many happy faces and memories.
Thanks to all who attended and to all the wonderful volunteers. See you next year.