BY O.J. EARLY
She arrives at noon and stays about 10 hours, sometimes longer.
Doing "whatever needs to be done," Janie Shepherd cooks and cleans.
After all, there will be hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who will place orders each night of the Greene County Fair at the Mosheim Central United Methodist Church food booth.
"We're getting ready for the big rush," Shepherd said Thursday afternoon. "It takes us all, our whole church group."
Shepherd has been preparing for "the big rush" for some time now.
She is one of only a handful of church members who have volunteered every year since her church began operating a food booth at the fair about 30 years ago.
And for many local residents, Shepherd said, eating at one of the church food booths is an institution at the fair.
"People come back all the time because they know we're here," she said. "It's the fellowship, but it's hard work. Really hard work."
SAW NOTICE IN NEWSPAPER
Mosheim Central has operated a church booth since about 1980, Shepherd said.
Another local church, Union Temple Free Will Baptist, has been staffing the booth opposite Mosheim Central United Methodist's booth for about 15 years.
Until 2010, Trinity United Methodist Church was a third local church serving food.
Trinity -- or, rather, First Evangelical United Brethren Church, which later became Trinity -- was actually the first church to operate a food booth at the fair, and did so for some 60 years.
How did the Mosheim church come to have its food booth?
It began with an announcement in The Greeneville Sun, advertising the booth for rent.
A church member read the advertisement, notified the church and the church signed on, Shepherd said.
"It's a good fundraiser for us, and it has been very good for our church," said Violet Jones, who actually read the notice in the newspaper some 30 years ago and alerted the church.
She, like Shepherd, is one of the few remaining original volunteers.
"We have lost some of our old-timers," Shepherd said this week. "They were some of the hardest workers."
Still, many members of the community love and look forward to chowing down on the food prepared by the Methodist church.
"Lots of friends and supporters come back every year," Shepherd said. "You can be out on the street and people will say, 'Oh yeah, we're coming.'"
The Greene County fair continues today, headlined by a Demolition Derby and country singer Mac Powell.
Activities today include:
* Open beef show (other breeds) at 2 p.m.;
* Open beef show (saler) at 6 p.m.;
* Teeny Tiny Talent at 7 p.m. at the Andrew Johnson Bank Pavilion;
* Demolition Derby at 7 p.m. in the Jim Saulsbury Motorsports Arena;
* Mac Powell at 8 p.m. on the main stage; and
* Scott Family at 9 p.m. at the Andrew Johnson Bank Pavilion.
THURSDAY AT THE FAIR
Attendance on Thursday was 4,157, according to fair treasurer Cam Philbeck. That's slightly higher than the 4,119 who attended the fair on the same day last year.
Performances by Mylee Doty, Madison Metcalf and New Day, ATV Drags and a WIKQ Youth Talent Contest highlighted the activities on Thursday.