Amish Ox Roast – Witmer Firehouse

We were first introduced to the Amish Ox Roast at the Witmer Firehouse by

Sign for the Witmer Firehouse Ox Roast
Sign for the Witmer Firehouse Ox Roast

some friends that travel from Connecticut, 5 hours to Lancaster County, every year to attend.

Three times a year, for the past sixty years, the Witmer Fire Co has had an Amish Ox Roast to fund their operations.  It is held on 455 Mount Sidney Road, Lancaster, PA 17602.

The Amish Ox Roast

This year we arrived at 12:00 noon.  Already the take-out line of cars was winding around the block, and the waiting area full. Surprisingly, after a mere 25-minute wait, my family together with 15 other hungry people were seated at a long pre-set table.  Comparatively, in past years we have waited as long as three hours.

Our waitresses Erma and Lavina were two young Amish girls that served us family-style, they encouraged everyone to eat as much as they wanted, bringing everything twice, including dessert.   The food was incredible, definitely made from scratch using the freshest ingredients available.  Erma told us that one of the volunteers grows all the corn and when its ready another group of volunteers cut if off the cob and freezes it.    As a result of their hard labor the corn is the best we have ever eaten and clearly shows their dedication to the Witmer Fire Co.

Once the food came, a fantastic thing occurred, among the table of 15 strangers, all of a sudden there was a camaraderie, all sharing stories talking and laughing. We shared our table with a family from New Jersey and another one from Harrisburg – every year both families travel approximately two hours to come to the ox roast.   We all agreed that it is worth the ride, the food is delicious, and the entire experience is one to be remembered.

The famous Ox Roast Menu

Slow Cooked Beef
Homemade Bread Filling
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Lancaster County Sweet Corn 
Homemade Gravy
Rolls & Butter
Cole Slaw
Pies, cake, and ice cream

The Amish Contribution

The unique thing about the Witmer Fire Company is that the majority of the firemen are Amish.  How do they get to the firehouse fast enough without cars?  Some get a non-Amish driver to take them, and others hop on their scooters.   However, the latest fad is motorized scooters as explained in Jack Brubaker’s “Scribbler” column in the Lancaster online news.

A sign reading Caution, Watch for responding firemen. The firemen is Amish and he is riding a scooter.
Caution watch for Responding Firemen

This comical sign is on rt 340 a few miles from Witmer.   The Amish are very supportive of their communities and are always willing to lend a helping hand.

From what I saw, most of the people running the Ox Roast were Amish.   However, I am sure there were quite a few non-Amish volunteers helping behind the scenes as well.

In conjunction with the Ox Roast, the fire company was running a bake

Pies, cookies cakes display by Amish women at the Witmer firehouse
Amish Bake Sale

sale with various Amish baked goods.  We did not buy anything this year but from experience, I can tell you, these ladies know how to bake.

We left the Ox Roast with our bellies full; new acquaintances made and finally in anticipation of the next Ox Roast on October 20, 2018.

Future Ox Roast Dates

In conclusion,  if you missed the April Ox Roast, the following schedule will help you plan for future Ox Roasts.

  • The second Saturday in February.
  • The third, fourth or fifth Saturday in April (depending on Easter weekend).
  • The third Saturday in October which this year will be October 20, 2018.

Another thing you can do so you don’t miss an Ox Roast is email, and they will send you a reminder when the next Ox Roast is coming up.


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Author: Kay

Kay lives with her husband and four kids in the center of the Lancaster Amish, away from the tourist traps where real life happens.

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