The Rotary Club of Urbana will kick off its 60th-anniversary year beginning with the traditional Chicken BBQ and Fireworks on July 4 at Grimes Field. Tickets for the chicken dinners are sold by any Rotarian and are available at Perpetual Federal Savings Bank, Champaign County Family Court, and the Champaign County Library.
The Chicken BBQ project began in 1960 in conjunction with the Home Show held at the Urbana Armory. Bill Botkin chaired the committee and Bill Bauer provided the sauce recipe, which has been a staple of the BBQ project. According to current committee co-chair Tim Martin, the event raises funds to sustain the club’s scholarship program.
The Rotary Chicken BBQ has evolved over the years as the club learned what worked best to cook the chicken and get the meals assembled and served. Various arrangements were made for the pit location and position in relation to typical wind patterns at the airport. A new, permanent pit was constructed and club members are excited to test the new modifications.
One aspect that has not changed is the club’s commitment to providing annual fireworks. When the Home Show was discontinued, the club moved the Chicken BBQ to the 4th of July in conjunction with the fireworks, which were sponsored at the time by Grimes Manufacturing. Today, the Rotary Club partners with other local organizations and businesses to provide a quality fireworks display.
Fellow committee chair Tammy Vernon said the club enjoys the service component of the chicken BBQ. “I hope the community has a good family day, eating chicken dinners and enjoying Independence Day watching fireworks,” she said.
Martin added that the musical entertainment will be free and the chicken always tastes great.
For more information on the Rotary Club of Urbana, follow the group on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or call Ty Henderson at the Champaign County Library, 937-653-3811.
Submitted by the Urbana Rotary Club.