Dugout Days is Sutton's two-day festival held the last Friday and Saturday in June (a couple events occur on Thursday night and on Sunday). The Sutton Historical Society holds its Kuchen Baking Contest on Friday evening at 6 pm each year.
Dugout Days has nothing to do with baseball. Dugout Days recognizes the founder of our community, Luther French who, in 1870 dug into the banks of School Creek to construct his home where his children later joined him. Dugouts were common for new arrivals on the unsettled plains. We have an idea of where eleven of them were in the Sutton area.
|The Kuchen Contest happens in the Sutton Park Pavilion as the Sutton Firemen's Chicken Barbecue is underway nearby.|
The "Kuchen" is a dessert brought to the plains by German immigrants from Russia in the 1870's and later. Though "kuchen" is a German word generally translated as "cake" our Kuchen is not a cake but custard dessert with any of a wide variety of fillings generally presented in the shape of a pie but with a specific kind of crust.
|Liz Hoffman displays one of the Kuchens as Auctioneer Dean Dirks begins to work his magic.|
Our contest format calls for our contestant bakers to bake two kuchens. One is used for judging, the second is auctioned off at the conclusion of the competition generating revenue for the Sutton Historical Society. And, since we carefully ration the judges' portions, we have about 1/2 of each Kuchen to keep the auction going a bit longer.
|No Contest works without judges.|
|And no contest works without contestants. Pictured here are Linda Lautenschlager, Melissa Reichert, Nancy Domeier and William Boehler. Our First Place Winner Pam Woodard was not available for the photo ... shucks.|
The Kuchen receives substantial mention across the internet. Germans from Russia wound up in Canada, Argentina, Chile and elsewhere and mention of this tasty dessert can found on many websites from those areas. Settlements in the United States are found in the Dakotas, Colorado and Kansas as well as Nebraska and other sites. The State of South Dakota honors the Kuchen as the "State Dessert."
The Sutton Historical Society thanks the bakers, judges, auctioneer and all those who engaged in spirited bidding for the honor of taking a Kuchen home and experiencing the thrill of tasting a "Premium" desert. The Society realized more than $2000 this year ensuring that some critical repair projects can happen. Thanks again to all.
- the Management.