BATAVIA – The Batavia VFW will gather the community for a Memorial Day service at its riverside banquet facility at 10 a.m. May 28, while its grounds will be home to the annual herring breakfast prepared by members of the Batavia Viking Ring Lodge.
The Batavia Community Band will be back to play patriotic music for the indoor service, co-founder and percussionist Linda Schielke said in an email.
Lodge member John Dillon said everyone is invited to attend the breakfast, which kicks off at 7 a.m. at 645 S. River St., Batavia.
"The highlight of the menu is the fried herring lightly breaded in cornmeal and flour – and fried on the griddle," Dillon said. "We also have eggs and bacon, boiled potatoes. And we usually have Swedish bread – usually homemade."
Beverages include coffee, and the breakfast costs $10 per person. Dillon said the food generally runs out between 10 and 11 a.m.
"We're outside at picnic tables," he said. "If it's really rainy, then the VFW opens up the [post] building and people can go inside. May is a pretty big event for us. We usually serve between 200 and 300 people."
The breakfast has been held for more than 50 years by the organization founded in the early 1900s, Dillon said, noting raffles are planned during the event.
The lodge also serves its herring breakfast at the Batavia VFW on the Fourth of July and Labor Day, with proceeds from the three fundraisers earmarked for the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance's burn survivor camps and local charities including Batavia United Way, Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and Batavia RSVP, a Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
"Everybody is welcome," Dillon said. "We get a lot of families that come up. Some bike down on the path."
About 20 Viking Lodge members do the cooking, cleanup and serving, Dillon said, advising, "Come early to make sure you get some of that herring."
For details on the Memorial Day service presented by Batavia VFW Post 1197, call 630-879-9630 or visit bataviavfw.org.