If there's a main event at the Jordan Fall Festival, it's the Sunday afternoon greased pole climb.
Much has been written about the spectacle: Teammates scale each other's backs as fast as they can to reach the top of a Crisco-covered 28-foot wooden utility pole while hundreds, if not thousands watch.
Less, however, has been written about where many of those people go after the contest: To grab a doughnut.
The festival's handmade doughnut booth last year grossed $22,000 for Jordan community organizations, booth captain Susan Mills said.
The plain fried cake and cinnamon-sprinkled doughnuts cost 50 cents each. Even with coffee and cider also sold at the booth, that's a lot of dough, Mills said.
The festival could have moved more, too. With the line 10 people deep most of the weekend, she said, many walked away. Others who made it to the counter had to be limited to three, or half a dozen doughnuts.
"Hopefully this year we can supply everybody with as many doughnuts as they want," Mills said.
To put a doughnut in every hungry hand at this year's 69th annual Jordan Fall Festival — and to reach Mills' goal of raising $25,000 — organizers have purchased a new $7,000 Pitco fryer.
It'll join the 24-by-24 Anets fryer that Mills and her crew of "seriously great doughnut cookers" have been using since 2006. She took over the booth in 2005, when she topped the previous year's proceeds of $8,000 with an $11,000 take — despite using a 50-year-old machine that could have exploded if its grease got too hot, she said.
Unlike the Anets fryer, the new one fully submerges doughnuts — so its operators won't have to crank and flip batches of up to 70 at the speed required to keep them from burning. Along with heaving 50-pound bags of flour, the process tired out many an arm, Mills said.
"I need a lot of men," she said. "It's hard to get men to volunteer."
The process also tired out Mills: She woke up at 3:30 a.m. to start making doughnuts for past festivals. She expects she'll be able to get a few more hours of sleep this year.
The stress of leading the station reached its peak for Mills on Friday of last year, when the fryer caught fire. After putting it out and cleaning the machine, her sister-in-law showed up to tell Mills that her father, Don Moore, had a heart attack.
"I started bawling, and everyone thought it was because of the fire," Mills said.
Moore — who was OK — and a handful of others who've been volunteering at the Jordan Fall Festival since its first year inspired Mills to begin doing so when she was 8. So inspired is she still that even in his crisis, she waited to go to the hospital — until someone else could take over the doughnut booth.
"I would never have taken over the doughnut booth if I didn't have my dad's support," she said. "This festival is close to my heart."