Updated: July 15, 2011 2:36AM
Nothing tastes better on a warm summer night than an outdoor meal of juicy and flavorful half-chickens, slow cooked over charcoal, served with corn, bread, chips and coleslaw, followed by the opportunity to bid and win something unique.
I’m referring to the 53rd annual Antioch Lions Club chicken BBQ and the Antioch Rescue Squad Auction on Aug. 7 at Williams Park in Antioch.
Lions Club volunteers serve about 2,000 chickens. They keep those birds flying off the grills from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, and they are lip-smacking good. The rescue squad provides entertainment beginning at 1 p.m. by auctioning off a variety of unique items and services while bidders enjoy their meals and sip adult beverages. The two fund-raising events blend nicely and have become a community tradition.
Discount tickets for $8 go on sale next week at State Bank of the Lakes, Piggly Wiggly and Antioch License Service, 876 Hillside Ave. They will be available the day of event for $11.
It’s a dual fund-raiser that typically brings in about $10,000 for the Lions Club and $40,000 for the rescue squad.
“It started as a barbecue and farmer’s auction and was run entirely by the Lions, but it became so popular that the rescue squad took over the auction in the early 1970s,” said ARS Chief Wayne Sobczak, explaining auction proceeds pay to maintain vehicles and replace and purchase equipment for the 48-member rescue squad. ARS is a private organization and does not receive tax revenue.
This year’s auction features many unusual items, including antique furniture, new garage door openers and fishing equipment, a concrete yard bench, restaurant and salon gift certificates, new clothing, sporting goods, water recreation toys, artwork, a lawn tractor now sitting in front of Village Hall, tools, toys and a bicycle.
Returning this year is a steak dinner for up to 10 people served in the top bidder’s home by Lions Club members. The food, including Angus beef, is donated by Piggly Wiggly owner David Karczewski.
“We do everything, from food preparation and bartending to serving and clean up,” said Sobczak.
The chicken barbecue is the Lions Club’s biggest fund-raiser along with the wild game dinner held every two years in November. The money raised from the two events pays for scholarships and donations to Boy Scouts, burn camp, District 34’s Camp Invention, Open Arms Mission Food Pantry and for eyeglasses and hearing aids, the main mission of the Lions Club.
Mark your calendars now for Aug. 7 to enjoy a good meal and place a winning bid on a unique item — it will be money well spent.
Diana Kuyper’s column appears Fridays. You can e-mail her at email@example.com.