Annual fundraiser is a lip smackin’ draw for locals –
Story and photos by Patricia Beech –
It’s one of the oldest methods of cooking.
Dig a hole in the ground, fill it with fire, wrap your meat in muslin, cover it and let it roast for several hours.
Members of the Adams County Junior Fair have been firing up their own authentic barbecue since 1963 and drawing in long lines of locals who appreciate savory flavor
“They’ve been doing the barbecue for more than 50 years so it’s become a tradition and now people expect it every year,” said Caitlin Young, the 2016 Fair Queen.
This year 1,390 people showed up to support the annual barbecue. “We hadn’t anticipated a growth of 200 over last year,” said Corbett Phipps,one of the organizers of the annual event. “So we’re going to up the supplies for next year, I’d rather have too much than too little.
The popular annual event sponsored by the Junior Fair raises money to maintain and upgrade the facilities at the Adams County fairgrounds.
“The Junior Fair Barbecue is very important to the fair,” said Fair Board President Liz Lafferty. “The capitol improvement money is used for big projects, not every year, but after a couple years they can apply it to a big project.
Community support for the barbecue has always been enthusiastic. “Everyone looks forward to it,” said Adams County Commissioner Brian Baldridge. “People come out for the barbecue and that supports our fair in the summer and obviously helps our youth here in the county.”
Alex Scharfetter, campaign manager for Congressman Brad Wenstrup presented the Junior Fair members a $100 donation on behalf of the Congressman. Wenstrup began giving the donation in 2015 to Junior Fair boards in the 2nd Congressional district.
“The money goes toward a patriot project at the fair to honor our heroes, veterans, and military members,” said Scharfetter. “I think it’s a great use of dollars that the kids can use to come up with an idea of their own to honor those who sacrifice for all of us.”
Congressman Wenstrup was serving Army Reserve duty and unable to attend.
Despite unexpected rain showers, preparations for the authentic barbecue went as planned. “The wood got a little wet,” said Phipps. “But we got it going and it was probably one of the best fires we’ve had. The rain didn’t slow us down at all.”
The barbecue is a joint effort by Junior Fair, 4-H, and FFA members from the the five county high schools. Ag Business and Ag Mechanic students from the CTC and West Union HS begin the process by digging the pit with help from the county highway department. Manchester FFA members split the wood, Peebles FFA members uncover the pit and take the meat to the CTC, and North Adams FFA, acting as clean up crew, get rid of trash and break down the tables. Adult volunteers wrap the 1,000 plus pounds of meat which is purchased at Prather’s IGA in West Union.
“This barbecue is important not only because it supports our Junior Fair organizations, but also because it allows students to experience the community’s support for them,” said Peebles FFA instructor Becky Minton. “It also teaches them how they can give back to the community by helping out in their own organization. I think that when we look at all the improvements in the fair grounds we can see that this is a really good activity and really good food.