"They started the stew around 9 o"clock last night with the meats first and then they start adding the vegetables and all the other ingredients," he said.
The current burgoomeister, also affectionately called the "burgoomistress" by fellow volunteers, Raynette "Rae" of La Salle, had left for home before noon after being there for several hours to make the stew early Saturday evening.
The recipe is somewhat a secret but she"s made it known that she controls exactly what goes in so as to soothe jovial rumors of any additions of "unknown meats." The stew is her personal recipe. Cooks say the ingredients include about 250 pounds of choice beef, in addition to potatoes, carrots, cabbage, green peas, beans, split peas, celery, several spices and herbs. This year Jones added sweet Italian sausage and bacon. The spices and herbs were prepared in her La Salle kitchen earlier.
"This is our first year. I saw some jewelry on a friend at a baby shower I was at and I asked her where she got it. She told me she bought it at the Burgoo festival so we came to see if I could find some," said Kathy.
"We drove out here to see Starved Rock and the fall colors. It's about a two- hour drive and 150 miles," added Dan.
So 40 years later it"s estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 people attend this annual autumn event, which serves as the society"s major fundraiser to supplement funds raised from membership dues and donations.
What was missing this year? "The bees. Too cold for them," said a man passing by.