Diners began lining up outside the armory at 9:30 a.m., hours before the Critter Dinner was scheduled to begin. They braved the line to be served cafeteria-style before sitting at long tables as oldies music from local band Don Gibson & the Velvetones filled the air. There were even Critter Dinner T-shirts available.
Settle, who got to sample much of the food beforehand, said alligator was his favorite. But he also liked the quail and the buffalo stew.
Alligator was among the favorites at the dinner. Thompson said he liked the exotic food, as did Aaron Riley, who came to the critter dinner with his wife, Angie and sons Parker and Carson, aged two and five.
The Rileys, from St. Albans, said it was their second year visiting the Critter Dinner.
"The Elk was good," said Angie, while Carson whispered in his mother's ear that he was partial to the fried trout. Parker wasn't saying much.
Food was cooked on large grills outside the armory, tended by yet more volunteers. Sam Gasaway stood by a steaming cauldron early in the day, scooping water buffalo chili into serving pans with a teflon-coated pot.
"I'm running for city council, so I kind of volunteered," he said, pushing a cart loaded up with serving pans toward the back door of the armory.
"All these guys out here do all the cooking. I'm just the physical labor."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.