Crowds line up for meals at the NMC Barbecue
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Get your BBQ tickets!

Tickets are now available online for the 60th annual NMC Barbecue, to be held Sunday, May 17, on NMC's main campus, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More »

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BBQ Events and Menu

Thousands enjoyed a "picnic under the pines" with live entertainment, activities and displays for all ages. More »

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NMC Alumni Weekend

Two other great events were held the day before the 2014 BBQ, the NMC Alumni Art Show and the NMC Jazz Festival.

2014 NMC Barbecue Quilt

A detail of the 2014 NMC Barbecue Quilt

Alumni quilt raffle »

The 2014 NMC Barbecue quilt, “Vines & Branches,” is a Bargello Quilt made by Bonnie King and quilted by Marty Beer. Proceeds from the raffle benefit NMC students through the George C. Comden Alumni Scholarship Fund. Learn more »

NMC Barbecue - May 17, 2015

The NMC Barbecue is one of northern Michigan's most popular and enduring traditions. The annual event brings thousands of people to NMC's main campus for an old-fashioned picnic and a chance to see their community college, with a grand total of 9,040 people attending the 59th annual NMC Barbecue in 2014.

The late Gerald W. Oleson and his wife Frances, founders of Oleson’s Food Stores in Traverse City, started the annual fundraiser picnic in 1956. Oleson’s Food Stores continue to donate the food, and hundreds of volunteers turn out to make the event happen.

When is the Barbecue?

The Barbecue is always on the Sunday before Memorial Day Weekend — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To plan ahead for future NMC Barbecues, save these dates on your calendar:

  • Sunday, May 17, 2015
  • Sunday, May 22, 2016
  • Sunday, May 21, 2017

may 17 and 18, 2014: NMC's first alumni weekend

The 2014 Barbecue on Sunday, May 18 was joined by two new special events on Saturday, May 17 for alumni and all friends of the college:

  • Three Decades of Art at NMC, an exhibit featuring the works of more than 30 art department alumni from NMC, included a special open house from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Traverse City Art and Design Gallery. Learn more about the alumni art show, which runs through May 31.
  • The kickoff to the NMC Jazz Festival was held later that night at the Dennos Museum Center's Milliken Auditorium. The NMC Jazz Big Band and Vocal Jazz Ensemble opened for Walter White’s Small Medium @Large. White, a world-renowned trumpet player, who was formerly was the lead trumpet player for the legendary Maynard Ferguson. The Jazz Festival continued the next day during the BBQ, featuring high school jazz bands from throughout the area.

2014 BARBECUE PHOTO GALLERY »

BARBECUE VIDEOS »

Zero waste event

In 2010, the Barbecue Board made a commitment to become a zero-waste event through extensive use of recycling and composting. More than 90 percent of the residuals from the 2011 Barbecue were kept out of a landfill, and by the 2014 Barbecue, that figure had increased to more than 99 percent. The Barbecue thanks the dozens of volunteers who helped guests properly dispose of their materials at recycling/composting stations around campus, and partners American Waste (recycling, equipment), Food for Thought (composting) and Rentals Unlimited (equipment).

2011

Material

Pounds

Percent of total

Cardboard
Compost
Plastic/Can Recycle
Grease Rendering
Coffee Grounds
Trash
Total

2,460
1,760
320
216
40
520
5,316

46.3%
33.1%
6%
4.1%
0.8%
9.8%
100%

2014

Material

Pounds

Percent of total

Cardboard
Compost
Plastic/Can Recycle
Grease
Coffee Grounds
Animal Feed
Trash
Total

1,120
7,820
1,600
60
36
120
43
10,799

10%
72%
15%
0.6%
0.3%
1%
0.4%
100%

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