TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will host the 59th annual Barbecue, one of the Grand Traverse region's most popular spring traditions, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 18 on main campus.
The late Gerald W. Oleson and his wife Frances, founders of Oleson’s Food Stores in Traverse City, started the annual fund raiser picnic in 1956. Under the leadership of the third generation of the Oleson family, Oleson’s Food Stores continues to donate the food. About 9,000 people attend every year, raising $1.5 million for college programs and equipment over the years.
What does it take to put on a picnic that size?
- 500 volunteers
- 1,400 pounds of carrots and celery
- 3,000 pounds — each — of potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans
- 8,400 ice cream cups
- 4,500 cartons of milk
- 3,000 pounds of buffalo burgers and hot dogs
In addition to the traditional picnic lunch, the schedule of events held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. includes:
- 11 a.m. - Presentation of the Colors, National Anthem
- Free admission to the Dennos Museum Center, live entertainment in Milliken Auditorium
- College displays and classroom demonstrations
- Children’s games (Ticket purchase necessary) including the popular cake walk
- Buffalo cam – Meet Chip, NMC’s life-size faux buffalo
- Quilt raffle to benefit the George C. Comden Scholarship Fund. Drawing at 4:30 p.m.
- Art department pottery sale
- Osterlin Library open, used book sale, children's book readings
- WNMC 90.7 FM live broadcasts and live musical entertainment. Local artists will perform outside Scholars Hall. Vocal artists will perform at a new stage on the east side of the Health & Science Building.
Services available to attendees include a baby care station and veterans’ tent, as well as compostable utensils and plates and composting of food waste, as part of an effort towards making the Barbecue a zero-waste event.
Barbecue tickets are $6 in advance and $8 on Barbecue Day. Tickets are available online at nmc.edu/bbq, on campus, at the Dennos Museum Center, Oleson’s Food Stores, local financial institutions and the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Barbecue is also the centerpiece of NMC's first Alumni Weekend. Activities include a two-day jazz festival Saturday and Sunday at Milliken and an alumni art show at the Traverse City Art and Design Gallery.
For more information, call (231) 995-1020 or visit nmc.edu/bbq.
Release date: May 5, 2014
For more information
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
ON BBQ DAY: (815) 494-1543