NMC Barbecue

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will host the 60th annual Barbecue, one of the Grand Traverse region's most popular spring traditions, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 17 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 10,000 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:

  • 10:45 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. Other prizes include Lobdell's gift certificates.
  • Alumni tent -Former students of at least one for-credit class may enter a free drawing for a beautiful vintage style bicycle from City Bike Shop.
  • 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 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 until noon Friday, May 15, on campus, at the Dennos Museum Center, Oleson’s Food Stores, most local financial institutions, Holiday Shopper, Terrace Shopper and the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, call (231) 995-1020 or visit nmc.edu/bbq.

Release date: May 12, 2015

For more information

Diana Fairbanks
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination