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Annual Kinsmen chicken barbecue dinner raises funds for youth ball program

Volunteers pack cooked chicken into foil bags at the New Glasgow Kinsmen Club chicken barbecue on Friday.
Volunteers pack cooked chicken into foil bags at the New Glasgow Kinsmen Club chicken barbecue on Friday.

NEW GLASGOW – At 9 a.m. Friday, Alec Dove was already tired.

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning, he arrived at Carmichael Park around 3 a.m. to light the charcoal that would cook 1,800 chickens for the New Glasgow Kinsmen Club’s annual barbecue fundraiser.

And his job wouldn’t end until the last meal rolled out, around 1 p.m.

Dove is a co-chairperson of the fundraiser, which the Kinsmen took over from the Gyro Club of New Glasgow about five years ago when that organization decided to stop organizing it.

“It’s a lot of fun when you realize what we’re doing it for,” he said, noting that it’s a good feeling to give children the opportunity to play baseball.

The Kinsmen junior baseball program costs the club about $50,000 a year, he said, with all proceeds from the barbecue going to it. “We use it to offset the costs to keep the costs down for the kids who play.”

Dove said more than 300 youth are enrolled this year.

On Thursday, club members spent three hours building the barbecues from cinder blocks, extending up Terrace Street beside the park.

Volunteers start the fires and began cooking at 4:30 a.m. “Once it gets hot enough, we put the chickens on,” Dove said as he watched volunteers check the temperature of the chicken, and spray on the “secret” sauce, handed down to the Kinsmen from the Gyro Club, which had done the fundraiser for about 50 years.

Dove said the endeavour takes a team of more than 30 people who tend the charcoal, place the chickens on the large cooking racks, turn the racks, place the chicken in foil bags, put the meals together, sell the dinners, organize the deliveries and drive the meals to their destinations. Members of the New Glasgow Kinette Club assist with assembling the meals.

“It’s a pretty slick process,” said Dove.

While some of the sales are walk-up, many companies pre-order the meals, which are delivered by volunteers.

The number of chickens cooked was increased this year “because we had quite a few walk-ups last year and we couldn’t fill the orders, so we upped it a bit,” he said.

Each meal consists of a half chicken, baked potato, cole slaw and a roll.

Several other businesses and groups, such as Summer Street Industries, also contribute to the fundraiser. “It takes all kinds of people to help make the project go,” said Dove.

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