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Grace Lutheran hosts Hop Into Spring Dinner March 22

Hop Into Spring at Grace Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes. The dinner is set for Saturday, March 22 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Coming off the heels of a cold, hard winter, it’s likely that many local residents would rather skip the slow transition into spring and just hop right into it with both feet.

Folks at Grace Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes, are ready to give people a big shove in that direction, as they prepare for their second annual “Hop Into Spring” dinner.

The event is set for Saturday, March 22, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

“It used to be called our Cabin Fever Dinner, and we used to have it in February,” explained event coordinator Linda Leitheiser, “but everybody was so busy with Polar Fest down at the lake, so we decided to change things up a bit and have it later.”

Hop into Spring is just before Easter and right around the time when meat on the grill sounds extraordinary.

“We are having pork roast on the grill,” said Leitheiser, whose son, Jeff, designed a grill able to cook up enough pork for the 350 people expected at the event.

“He can fit all of them onto there at one time and will be doing all the grilling right there at the church,” said Leitheiser. “I think this is the sort of thing that people will really enjoy after this long, cold winter.”

Along with the grilled pork will also be au gratin potatoes, corn, sweet salad, garlic bread sticks, pickles, coffee and milk and dessert.

“We have so much fun putting this on,” said Wilma Hanson, who along with Leitheiser is coordinating the event.

“We have a lot of elderly people in our congregation, but for this we will see all sorts of people in the kitchen helping and young people helping serve — it’s almost like a big family reunion that everybody comes out for.”

The Hop Into Spring dinner will also provide the option for to-go meals for those either on the run or for people interested in picking up a quick, made-from-scratch dinner for a loved one that is homebound.

Cost for the dinner – which is open to the public — is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-12 and the tiniest “hoppers” under 4 years old are free.

Money raised from the event will go to Grace Lutheran Church, which Leitheiser says will be used for charitable donations to local organizations such as the Becker County Food Pantry, the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, the Compassion House and more.

Hanson, a skilled quilter, is also donating one of her springy creations of a red and white checkered quilt to be given away.

“Last year we had a lot of fun surprising somebody with a quilt, and so because we just want everybody to have a good time, we thought we’d do that again,” said Hanson, adding that people attending the dinner just have to put their names in a bucket for a drawing at 7 p.m.

“And the winner does not need to be present to win; the church will call them,” added Leitheiser.

Grace Lutheran Church is located across from the Roosevelt Elementary/Middle School complex.

“It’ll be a festive occasion where people will have the opportunity to enjoy good food and good conversation,” said Leitheiser, “and we just hope everybody comes out and has a good time.”