COLUMBIA — Kathy Turner used to drive from Overland Park, Kan., every year to attend the annual Olivet Christian Church chicken and mutton barbecue before moving to Columbia eight years ago.
Turner is not a member of the Olivet Christian Church, but her in-laws are. She said she used to drive about 140 miles from Kansas because the barbecue coincided with Father's Day weekend, and her father lived in Columbia.
The church bought 1,000 pounds of mutton and 1,300 chicken halves for the barbecue this year, chairwoman Angela Pigg said. Rockie Alden said the church used to raise and slaughter its own lambs, but it now buys them wholesale. Other items on the menu included:
- Green beans
- 10 types of pie — including the addition of sugar-free gooseberry and pecan pies
Turner is only one of about 2,100 people who buy tickets to the barbecue each year. This year marked the church's 53rd barbecue, which is a fundraising event and social function.
Chairwoman Angela Pigg said there were 1,900 pre-sold tickets this year, and she expected about 300 more to be purchased at the door, which is consistent with numbers of past years.
Pigg's husband, Matt, also served as a chairperson this year.
Pigg said she hoped the rain, which started shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, wouldn't keep people away from the barbecue. She said she expected to fill more carry-out orders.
Ken Bartley, the ticket sales chairman, said weather is one reason pre-selling tickets is a good idea.
"We certainly hope everyone is able to make it, whether they dine in or take out," Bartley said, as he enjoyed his barbecue meal. "We just want to see them."
All the proceeds from the ticket sales are split between local agencies chosen by the outreach committee. Half the profit always goes to the Olivet Building Fund, and the other half is split between the remaining organizations, Diane Bartley, a church member, said.
Wayne Behymer, a former chairman of the event, said the church raised about $12,000 at last year's barbecue.
Rockie Alden, a former chairwoman, said people concerned about the weather called to check if the event was canceled.
"You might have to eat in a Sunday School room or something, but it won't be canceled," said Alden, emphasizing it's the 53rd consecutive barbecue.
Turner said the tent was emptier than in past years, but she also pointed out she was eating early for dinner, about 4 p.m.
"People in the know come really early, because they run out of gooseberry pie," she laughed.