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Shaggy and Scooby eat Austin's weirdest food for charity

The Mystery Machine, a musician’s tour bus and hundreds of pickup trucks were seen this weekend parked at Doug Moreland’s Cattlelacs Calfry festival. This was the 8th year for Moreland’s Calfry, a fundraising cook-off and concert that benefits HAAM, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

The Calfry features Austin’s weirdest food, calf fries.

Calf fries are calf testicles. The testicles are cut off when a calf is young so it will mature into a calmer animal. Without testosterone, a beef steer will develop body mass in its back half where the prime cuts of meat are located. (A steer is not a bull. A bull isn't castrated and develops body mass around its neck.)

Calf fries are considered a cowboy delicacy right out of the Old West. Working cowboys used their branding irons to roast the “fries” over an open fire. Today most calf fries are breaded and deep-fried, but they don’t taste like fried chicken.

Doug Moreland and Cattlelac’s Calfry

Doug Moreland is a Texas fiddler, songwriter, humorist and chainsaw artist. He has received a Will Rogers Cowboy Award for Western Music Male Performer of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists and an Entertainer of the Year award from the Texas Music Awards.

The Calfry is held at “Cattlelacs”, Moreland’s chainsaw art gallery in downtown Manchaca, located just on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Chainsaw carvings spruce up the festival grounds. Folks bring their own lawn chairs and sit in front of the huge stage. Food and beer are sold. Shouts of “Ringer!” and “That's a leaner,” are heard during the Texas Washer Pitchers Association tournament. Top-notch country acts take the stage, and calf fries are available to sample in the cook-off area. Cook-off teams get creative with their recipes and food presentation. Team names can be downright wacky. For example, a team called "Testicular Arrangement" competed this year.

The event started as a huge music party for friends and neighbors in 2003. Moreland needed lots of food to serve that first year, so when John Dickson (Dickson Productions) said he could get large quantities of either crawfish or calf testicles, Moreland decided to “go nuts”.

Seven years later the party has grown into a popular country music festival. The 2010 musical line up was Glenn Moreland and Washtub Jerry, Jesse Dayton Band, Doug Moreland Band and Jason Boland and the Stragglers.

A benefit for HAAM

Cattlelacs Calfry is a benefit for HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians). HAAM is a non-profit agency that provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s uninsured working musicians. Since HAAM’s start in 2005 over 2,000 musicians have gained access to regular, cost-effective health care services.

Shaggy, Scooby and The Mystery Machine

Why was the Mystery Machine parked outside the Calfry? Were those “meddling kids” there to solve the mystery of the meat inside the fries?

Shaggy, Scooby and the Mystery Machine are part of Mystery Inc., an Austin volunteer organization. The Mystery Inc. gang addresses community issues through education. They use Scooby-Doo cartoon characters to engage the public and a 1969 Ford Econoline Mystery Machine van as their vehicle.

Shaggy and Scooby attended the Calfry as HAAM volunteers. They roamed the festival, posed for pictures and collected donations for HAAM. They learned about the Calfry on facebook, where a "mostly vegetarian" friend posted that she would eat a calf fry if she could raise at least $50 for the cause. Shaggy and Scooby met her calf fry eating challenge. Together the trio raised over $200. Shaggy and Scooby ate calf fries for the first time and the occasion was recorded on video.

Doug Moreland’s Calfry Song sums it up:

"Well, it's Calfry time again. Go tell all your friends. Early in the fall, gonna have a ball. You gotta be there to say you've been. Cold beer goes with what? ...what? You say "crazy", I say "nuts"! Shuck 'em, cut 'em, soak 'em, bread 'em, fry 'em, eat 'em down! It's a testicle festival in Manchaca town."

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For information on the next Cattlelac’s Calfry check Doug Moreland’s website. Details are posted as soon as they become available.

Scooby, Shaggy and the gang volunteer for numerous non-profit organizations. The characters and the Mystery Machine van can be hired for appearances at parties and community events. Proceeds benefit local charities and the help maintain the Mystery Machine. Contact Mystery Inc. here.

HAAM needs year-round donations to keep Austin music “alive and well”. Medical, dental, mental and hearing health services are provided through HAAM by Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David's Foundation, The SIMS Foundation and Estes Audiology. Tax-deductible donations are accepted through the Austin Community Foundation.

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