GRINNELL, IA (Aug. 11) – The Rotary Club of Grinnell will hold its annual chicken barbecue fundraiser during Lions Club’s Ag Day on Thurs., Aug. 26.

The traditional chicken barbecue meal composed of one-half large charcoal-grilled chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, bottled water, and pudding will still cost $10 each. Tickets are available from any Rotarian as well as Total Choice, Browns Shoe Fit, Medicap, Grinnell State Bank, and Grinnell Implement.

Distribution will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:00 to 6 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 916 5th Ave., Grinnell.

Long a community mainstay event signaling the unofficial start of summer in Grinnell, this year’s chicken barbecue was moved from June to August due to the uncertain status of coronavirus at the beginning of summer.  With new infections seemingly declining locally, organizers felt it would be safe to schedule this year’s barbecue at the end of the summer season.

“It was touch and go for a while,” said Keir Johnson, president of the Grinnell Rotary Club for fiscal year 2021-22. Johnson, a long-time Rotarian in Northfield, MN, had never participated in a chicken barbecue event.  Johnson, whose wife Barbara, also a Rotarian and is an assistant professor of computer science at Grinnell College, moved to Grinnell in late 2019.  Like most community events, the chicken barbecue was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Johnson and outgoing president Brent Nickel led the Rotarians through a decision-making process whether to hold the chicken barbecue at all and if so, the best time to do so.  The Lions’ Ag Day presented an excellent opportunity as that event normally attracts a good crowd and the farmer’s market would still be going on.

Lions Club former president Kevin Stutz welcomed the opportunity to share the popular Ag Day event with the Grinnell Rotary Club.  “We felt the community missed out on two awesome events last year and so, together, our organizations after a tough year are looking forward to bringing families back to Central Park to celebrate Ag Day and enjoy some great BBQ”

Another factor the Rotarians considered was the proximity of the August barbecue to Kites Over Grinnell which the Rotarians will bring back on Sat., Sept. 25.  A key factor in the success of both events is business sponsorship.

To avoid approaching businesses twice in two months, it was decided to offer sponsorships for the two events for the price of one.

Three levels of sponsorships are available: $300 for Supreme Grill Master and Kite Flyer; $200 for Grill Master and Kite Flyer; and $100 for Griller and Flyer.  All three provide inclusion in banners that will be put up at both events; in a brochure that will be given out with a purchase of a chicken meal; and a varying number of free barbecue tickets. In addition, sponsors may distribute promotional items as game prizes during Kites Over Grinnell and will be mentioned in print ads and on KGRN.

For more information about sponsorship, please contact Bruce Blankenfeld at 641-990-1152.

Funds raised from the chicken barbecue will be used to support various Rotary Projects in the community.

Caption: Karla Sandell,  a new member of the Rotary Club, gamely put on the familiar chicken suit and clucked around a recent Farmers Market with Rotary President Keir Johnson (left) to sell tickets and stopped to talk with Ann Brau (right), manager of Thursday’s Farmers Market.


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