When you "fry up" what the steer "gave up" and mix in neighbors welcoming strangers, you have what has quickly become a hugely popular event in southwest Kansas.

The Pheasant Heaven Charities Banquet in Hugoton combines some of the great loves of Kansans: ranching, hunting and helping your neighbor.

The event draws in about 2000 people each year on the night before opening day of pheasant season, and is open to the public. No tickets are sold. Organizers simply ask for a free will donation from people wanting to partake in the dinner and auction.The main feature at the meal will be about 900 pounds of “calf fries” along with 700 pounds of roast pork and 600 pounds of roast beef. If you are one of the un-initiates, organizer Brad Musgrove assures that those calf fries “taste like chicken.

”The dinner welcomes many from across Kansas as well as out-of-staters who have made Hugoton a home base for their annual hunting trips.The menu doesn’t scare off many people. On the contrary—Pheasant Heaven Charities has raised more than $1 million in just five years. The money raised goes to scholarships and medical assistance for residents within a 50-mile radius of Hugoton.

What: Pheasant Heaven Charities Banquet

When: The eve of pheasant season opening day: November 9, 2012

Where: Hugoton, Great Plains Gas Compressor Building

Time: 5 - 9 p.m., live auction at 7 p.m.

Becky Blake is the Director of the Kansas Travel & Tourism Division, and has been involved in the Kansas tourism industry for the past 30 years. The TravelKS Blog provides a brief update from Becky each week, featuring communities, events and attractions throughout the state.