COLUMBIA – Pauli Landhuis was busy in the kitchen Friday morning baking sugar-free pies for community members to enjoy at her church’s barbecue.
Saturday marks the 54th annual Olivet Christian Church chicken and mutton barbecue. The event will be held from 3:30 to 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children.
Church members and volunteers like Landhuis have been working since Thursday evening to set up the event, which is expected to attract about 2,000 guests.
Landhuis said the preparations on Thursday included setting up tents, tables and chairs as well as preparing the barbecue cooking equipment.
While many food items, including the pies, are baked before Saturday, Landhuis said the mutton and chicken are cooked the day of the event.
“We boil large pieces of mutton with our special spices and onions at 5 o’clock in the morning,” Landhuis said. “We don’t cut it off the bone until later in the afternoon. This leaves in that good flavor of the mutton.”
Landhuis said all the meats and vegetables are cooked outside, and all the necessary precautions are taken while cooking to meet public health law requirements.
Volunteers serve attendees their choices of mutton or chicken and finish with a piece of their choice of pie.
“We have all the popular flavors of pie, including cherry, apple and pecan,” Landhuis said.
Landhuis said that in the last few years, different types of berry pies, including mixed berry and raspberry, have been popular choices among participants.
“Gooseberry pies always run out the soonest,” Landhuis said.
Landhuis said participants also can expect to see potatoes and green beans, coleslaw, applesauce, bread, lemonade and iced tea on the menu.
For those who do not have time to sit and eat their meal, a carry-out option is available.
Landhuis has been attending and working the barbecue for about 30 years. She said the barbecue first began as a way for the church to raise money.
“A long time ago, we had an activities building that was burnt down,” Landhuis said. “The barbecue was started to raise money for the building and continued every year since.”
Half of the proceeds from the event go toward the church’s building fund and the other half goes toward preselected outreach programs. This year, Olivet has chosen Columbia Area Older Adult Ministries, Teen Relation Education and Empowerment and Olivet Youth Mission Trips as beneficiaries.
“Sometimes we also use a part of the money to fund scholarships for Christian camps during the summer,” Landhuis said.
Landhuis said the barbecue will not be canceled if it rains during the event.