Annual BBQ raises over $10K in support of local fire department

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

The 41st annual Community Chicken Barbeque hosted by the Bear Lake Township Firefighters Association on Sunday, Sept. 1, featured not only a bevy of food but also activities for all ages, including the popular "train ride" around the Bear Lake Township Community Center.


Photo by Dennis Mansfield

Hundreds of people, both local residents and visitors to the area, packed the Bear Lake Township Community Center last Sunday, for the annual fundraiser, which included tables full of goodies up for grabs in a silent auction, held in support of the township fire department, Station No. 8. And, with this year's success, department officials said they are much closer to their goal of building a new water well.


BEAR LAKE TWP. – Organizers aren’t quite sure why, but it was a banner day for the 41st annual Community Chicken Barbeque hosted by the Bear Lake Township Firefighters Association on Sunday, Sept. 1.

It could have been the more than 450 pounds of barbecued chicken. Or the near perfect weather. Or the plethora of events for all ages, including kids games, a bounce house, train rides, raffles and silent auctions at the Bear Lake Community Center, located halfway between Kalkaska and Grayling on M-72.

No matter the reason, the annual gathering set a new record with 343 dinners sold, and organizers later announcing that more than $10,500 was raised in support of Bear Lake Township Fire Department Station No. 8. That included over $4,000 in sales for the firefighters association’s “brick fundraiser.”

While always a popular event during the Labor Day weekend, Station No. 8 Fire Chief Mark Laskowski said this year’s record-setting day came as a surprise.

“We plan for maybe about 325 dinners,” Laskowski said. “I don’t know what it was about this year, other than it was a beautiful day.

“But, there was a line out the door,” he added. “We ran out of food. That’s never happened before.”

Proceeds from the event will go to assist the Bear Lake Township Fire Department Station No. 8’s goal of constructing a new water well adjacent to the community center, where Laskowski said the station’s trucks will be able to more easily and efficiently load up with lifesaving water.

According to Laskowski, the fire department currently uses a dry well located near the shoreline of Bear Lake on East Bear Lake Drive.

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