The spirit of community filled the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta, as well as smells from a delectable smorgasbord of homemade pies, sandwiches and soups that hit you as you walked in the door.
The annual Election Day soup and sandwich lunch was held Tuesday, and members of the congregation mingled with political candidates and members of the community.
"I've been coming here for at least 20 years or better," said Bill McFarland, who was running unopposed in the election for county auditor. "It's just a wonderful thing they are doing here, and they are upholding a tradition."
ERIN O’NEILL The Marietta Times
Volunteers, including, from left, Margaret Spransy, Carol Norris and Bob Gray, help prepare the annual Election Day soup and sandwich lunch at First Presbyterian Church in Marietta Tuesday.
The tradition began roughly 50 years ago, according to Pauline Lee, who coordinated the dozens of volunteers this year and has been involved for a number of years.
"It used to be held on Election Day, when the church was used as a polling place," Lee said.
The event is used as a fundraiser for the church's mission projects. Two months of preparation go into organizing the luncheon, and volunteers help with everything from making the variety of soups and desserts to taking money and washing dishes.
About the lunch
For 50 years, the Presbyterian Women's group at First Presbyterian Church in Marietta has hosted the Election Day soup and sandwich lunch.
The event began as a way to feed voters who came to vote when the church was a polling place.
Money raised from the event goes to the church's mission projects.
The Rev. George Spransy, the church's interim pastor since February, said this is his first time witnessing the event and all the work that goes into it.
"I think this is a really neat idea," he said. "What I have discovered about Marietta is that this is really a close-knit community."
Early voting has diminished the numbers of folks showing up for the lunch in recent years but guests still number in the hundreds, according to Lee.
While a number of candidates usually attend, including McFarland, who cast his ballot first thing Tuesday morning, it is more about enjoying the company than talking shop.
"Quite a few of them come but they don't talk politics," Lee said. "It's just a nice, friendly atmosphere."