Opportunity came knocking in 1994 when the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau asked the Fire Company to prepare a potpie dinner to benefit both the Fire Company and the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg. It was a part of the Pennsylvania Dutch Food Festival, which the Bureau had organized around ethnic foods common to this area. Since it was to be an all-you-can–eat meal, two firefighters went around the county taste-testing potpie and checking out how many portions the kitchen would need prepare.
The firefighters managed the kitchen for that first potpie meal on February 20, 1994. They also put Rick Nields in the chicken outfit (borrowed from the chicken barbecues) and had him strut around to advertise the dinner. Firefighters also bribed Willard Scott (NBC’s Today Show) with shoofly pies and Bird-in-Hand T-shirts to give a national plug for the dinner on the NBC Today Show! This caused people to come from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Delaware, and Virginia to enjoy our homemade fare!