DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Boy Scouts Ethan Dawson and Isaiah Thompson were seated atop the turret of an M-41 army tank at the National Guard armory in Dunbar on Saturday, styrofoam plates loaded up with wild game perched precariously across their knees.
Their verdict on the unusual food?
"It's amazing," said Thompson. "Especially when you're sitting on top of a tank."
Dawson and Thompson were among dozens of volunteers helping out with Dunbar's annual Critter Dinner on Saturday. More than 1,000 people were expected to attend the dinner and sample wild animal dishes in what has become a local tradition.
Aaron Settle, Dunbar recreation director, said the critter dinner was started in 1959 as a way for local hunters to share meat. Over the years the event became more organized - and regulated - until today some of the fare has to be trucked in.
"Some of the food is so exotic we have to order out," Settle conceded.
Menu items included fried trout, frogs legs, roast elk and pig, reindeer sausage, wild boar, quail, water buffalo chili and stews made of elk and 'possum. Admission was by donation of non-perishable food items.
"We take the food that we collect and it stocks our Dunbar food pantry," Settle said. "It's a way to give back to the community."
He said a state grant helps pay for the food for the yearly event.