DORCHESTER, Ill. ( - Home to 150 people, the village of Dorchester in Macoupin County welcomes thousands the first weekend of August each year for the fire department's annual fish fry.

But this year is a little different.

"Normally we have a three-day event with bingo, beer, inflatables...the whole park is full of people," said Eric Henrichs, a volunteer member of the Dorchester Fire Department. "This year, in order to have it, we had to adapt."

So, the fire department, along with a few dozen volunteers, fried nearly 1,500 pounds of fish and distributed it drive-thru style.

"The line is so long in winds through town," he said. "We're used to it because we offer a great product."

The first cars arrived at 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the fundraiser began. Some drivers admitted to sitting in line for an hour waiting to get their hands on some fish.

"It's the best fish ever," said Elizabeth Shafer. "I've been in line for more than an hour, so that tells you something!"

The fish is hand-breaded, fried and served by itself or on a sandwich. This year, the department asked people to pay what they could, realizing money is tight right now for a lot of people.

"It's the most family friendly outing around," said Shafer. "The food is delicious, yeah buffalo, and when you come here you're family."

Henrichs said the department considers the annual fundraiser its way of giving back to the community that supports it year round. This year's weather didn't hurt either.

"Usually, we're frying fish in 100 degree plus weather on top of the fryers," he said. "So today, people can enjoy a hot sandwich on a cool day."

The annual fish fry fundraiser began 60 years ago and volunteers with the department hope to continue it well into the future.

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