65 years of tradition is in the sauce; Kiwanis Club of Marquette chicken dinner on June 13

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Kiwanis Club of Marquette is preparing for their annual chicken dinner on June 13 between 11:30 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.

Mike Morgan, Kiwanis Member, says the event is a little different this year because of COVID-19 precautions.

“This is our biggest fundraiser for the Kiwanis of Marquette, it’s our annual chicken barbeque, it’s the 64th annual barbeque,” said Morgan. “Tickets are available from any Kiwanian and they’re $15 a ticket this year because of COVID we’re just doing drive-through pickup, there’s no dine-in or takeout in Lakeview like there had been in the past.”

One thing that remains the same, the chicken. Morgan says they’ve been using the same recipe for the barbeque sauce since the first dinner 64 years ago. This year they’ll make about 14 gallons of it to go on 1,500 halves of chicken

“Normally we’ll do 2,200 to 2,500 but since we’re only doing the drive-through we cut it back a little bit,” said Morgan. “Just because we don’t want to end up with stuff leftover or a lot left over, anything that’s leftover will go to like Salvation Army, Jansen house or places like that that can take it.”

Marquette Area Public Schools allows the club to use the high school kitchen for making the sauce.

“Otherwise we’d probably have to have a bunch of turkey fryers with pots and it just wouldn’t be as easy and as good,” said Morgan. “They’ve been allowing us to come up here as long as I’ve been in the club.”

The event takes help from several community partners to put on. Morgan says Fraco hauls and stores the cement blocks for the pits, Jilbert’s supplies a refrigerated trailer and Northern Michigan University loans them warmers for the food when it’s cooked.

In a normal year, Morgan says around $16,000 is generated for donations the club makes around the community.

“All the money that we net off of this goes back into donations in the community,” said Morgan. “We support things like Habitat for Humanity, the children’s museum, local youth sports teams, Bay Cliff, a lot of worthy causes and this money goes back to help all those causes.”

The $15 dinner comes with half a chicken, baked potato, dinner roll, beans, milk or coffee and ice cream.

Morgan says they are asking that people have their tickets ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased through any Kiwanis Member or at First National Trust and Wealth Management located at 3165 Wright St. Suite 104 in Marquette. They can also be contacted through their Facebook page.

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