Big smiles and full stomachs

By Joel Charron

Call it the unofficial start of summer, call it a giant community barbecue, but whatever you call it make sure you call Beef in the Burg some good old-fashioned family fun.

Wednesday afternoon, Amherstburg residents flocked to Toddy Jones Park for the sixth annual Beef in the Burg hosted by the Amherstburg Rotary Club.

What started out as a fundraiser for the Cancer Foundation by General Amherst High School six years ago has transformed into a community orientated barbecue aimed at raising money for the many projects the Rotary Club sponsors. It is also a way to bring the community together.

The Beef in the Burg, which in previous year has been held on a Friday, was switched to the middle of the week because the Rotary Club thought it would avoid conflict with other events and would draw more families.

“We always ran into problems when we held it on a Friday,” said Rotarian Carl Gibb. “We thought holding it in the middle of the week would make it easier for families to attend and by the looks of things it worked out.

Gibb said 465 people attended the event and raised roughly $3,000.

Of course having the weather cooperate helps a great deal.

“We were kind of wondering with the weather what kind of turn out we would get but thankfully everything turned out great,” said Rotary Club president Bill Wark.

“I’m amazed at the turnout. We should have had 25-30 more picnic tables,” said Gibb.

It is estimated that 350 pounds of roast beef was served and over 250 hot dogs were consumed.

With a number of people “stepping up” to help with the Beef in the Burg, Gibb called the event a “true community effort.”

Gibb applauded the efforts of Rennie Rota of Sobey’s, who donated the food, Chuck Kelly of The Athletic Club who donated door prizes and Rosa White who organized the preparation and distribution of the food.

“The roast beef on a bun is excellent, everybody loves it and looks forward to it,” said Rota. “I think we’ve really started developing a real niche for that.”

Some families came for the food and left while others stuck around for a while and enjoyed the music and atmosphere.

Amherstburg resident Penny Bennett, who was enjoying dinner with her son Robert, has attended Beef in the Burg for the last three years said the family event keeps getting better and better.

“Every year it gets better,” said Bennett. “The roast beef just melts in your mouth, it’s absolutely delicious.”

Liza Price won the year membership to the Athletic Club. Thomas Overton won the 32-inch TV donated by Sears Amherstburg while Darlene Swintak won the bicycle donated by Canadian Tire

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