COMMUNITY, News, Roy

Roy dinner and tractor show draws crowd—and 150 volunteers

People, tractors, and volunteers gathered in Roy Saturday to celebrate a tradition held since 1968 and raise funds for a new parish hall.

The rain couldn’t dampen spirits, though it did create a few damp tractor seats at the antique tractor show that makes up part of the day’s festivities.

Launched in 1968, the St. Francis of Assisi Steak Dinner and Tractor Show, briefly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 but restored bigger than ever in 2022 is a fundraiser for the only school in Roy, but like other rural communities, it’s a local celebration that brings community members together to enjoy food, a bazaar featuring handcrafted goods and items and a tractor show.

“It’s a fundraiser in a way but it’s really just a way to get everyone together,” said Gracie Hertel, who has been helping put the event on for years. Her parents, Lynda and Jim Hertel, are the co-chairs of the event, a role they’ve held for years.

“I have grown up with it,” the younger Hertel said in the midst of volunteering in the kitchen. She estimated that 1,000 dinners were sold Saturday.

Volunteers work in the kitchen at the St. Francis of Assisi Steak Dinner and Tractor Show Saturday, May 4. Photo: Chas Hundley

In June of 2025, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School hopes to break ground on a new parish hall and a full size gym, as well as additional classrooms, said Lynda Hertel.

Fundraising for that project is ongoing, and this year’s dinner raised funds with a new addition: sponsorships for the tractor show.

Lining the fence were the names of several businesses that used the tractor show — which featured nearly three dozen antique tractors — to advertise, bringing more funds than usual from the event. This story was written from interviews conducted while the event was ongoing so a final dollar amount raised wasn’t available.

Every year, the event draws volunteers from the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, the school, and the surrounding Roy and Banks community.

Coordinating those volunteers is Courtney Schaefer, who manages a small army of volunteers, this year estimated to be around 150 people helping prepare dinners, run the bar, bus tables, and operate the drive thru, a relatively new addition to the dinner.

“I tell you, they put McDonald’s to shame,” Hertel said of the drive thru volunteers.

“[The dinner] went great,” Hertel said. “A lot of people gave great compliments about the food; they said it was excellent,” Hertel said.

“It was wet but everybody came inside and had a good time,” she added.

Find out more at www.roycountrysteakdinner.com, which includes a link to donate to the new parish hall.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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