MESOPOTAMIA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mesopotamia Volunteer Firemen’s Association is celebrating a big milestone for its annual ox roast. The three-day-long roast and flea market kicks off Friday for its 50th year.

Some of the nearly 200 vendors were setting up Thursday near the intersection of routes 534 and 87. Volunteers will be cooking up about 5,800 pounds of meat for the fire department’s famous roast beef sandwiches.

All proceeds from the ox roast go to support the township’s volunteer fire department.

“The money from the ox roast goes and pays for equipment at the fire department. Plus, it sends the guys for training and stuff like that. The ox roast helps to keep the taxes down in our town,” said Chie James Loza.

Past ox roasts have raised more than $100,000 for the fire department.

Loza said he’d like to raise a little more this year to help pay off a fire engine the department purchased three years ago.

The Mesopotamia Ox Roast Antiques and Fela Market brings more than 20,000 people a day to the center of Mesopotamia. It begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Food service begins at 10 a.m.