Apple dumpling sales net $3,000 for high school theater program

If a chill is in the air, it must be apple dumpling season!

Penn Manor students and staff created the treats Friday as a fund-raiser for the high school theater program, continuing a tradition stretching back at least 40 years. About 60 volunteers combined 1,100 pounds of apples, 150 pounds of sugar, 15 dozen eggs, five pounds of cinnamon and more than 3,200 squares of dough into the dumplings, which were slow-baked in the high school cafeteria ovens.

The hefty treats (some say they’re more like a meal) were sold for $3 apiece and delivered to customers over the weekend.

The project generated more than $3,000 for the theater department to help offset travel expenses for state and national Thespian Conferences, pay for the Thespian Induction Ceremony and help fund licensing and production costs for a third show after the spring musical.

The apple dumpling tradition dates back at least to the mid-1970s, although it’s not entirely clear who started the fund-raiser and why, said Carole Shellenberger, who directs the fall play. The original idea may have come from Gray Sellers, who was head of food services at Millersville University and supplied the original dough recipe, she said.

As to why the thespians chose dumplings, no one is sure, she said. “Maybe it was theater people trying to be different,” Carole quipped.