There was a lot of camaraderie and laughter among horseradish aficionados as they peeled, scraped and chopped roots during the 46th annual Horseradish Party at Long Ireland Beer Company in Polish Town Wednesday afternoon.
Under blue skies with temperatures in the 60s, participants enjoyed a picturesque day with mixing horseradish, lemon juice and vinegar in food processors.
This year, party planners also purchased 22 bushels horseradish from Riverhead farmer Phil Schmitt.
The event was founded in the early 1970s by the late East End journalists Don Smith and Art Penny along with attorney Pete Danowski and other lawyers working in the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office.
Riverhead residents John Taggart and Bobby Bugdin and Doug Adams of Setauket coordinate the current event, which returned to Riverhead three years ago.
“People wait all year for this event,” Bugdin said. “There are new faces every year. We’ll probably have about 250 people today.”
Dan Burke, co-owner of Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead, donated beer for the event and added, “This is the worst kept secret in town.”
The event comes together with a lot of donations of food and drinks, making it a pot luck smorgasbord of kielbasa, grilled pork, casseroles, raw clams, oysters and crawfish, Taggart said.
“Everybody puts in something to share,” he said. “Everyone puts in a little work — peeling, scraping, chopping or jarring.”
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