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Father’s Day chicken barbecue sells out fast in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2020 at 1:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – The firemen’s sauce is added to chicken during today’s barbecue at the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company.

The 800 chicken dinners sold out fast in the drive-through event. They were all gone by 11:44 a.m.

Ricky Tuohey, a Ridgeway firefighter, helps serve the chicken barbecues today.

The event was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., but the fire company started to serve the meals around 10 a.m. due to a lineup of vehicles.

Deputy Fire Chief Jason Bessel, left, and Fire Chief  Pat Kelly work in the fire pits with the last batch of chicken. Firefighters arrived at 6 a.m. to start cooking the chicken.

Bessel and Kelly said the fire company has lost about $10,000 with cancelled fundraisers during the Covid-19 pandemic, including a gun and money raffle in May.

The fire company expects to make about $2,000 from today’s chicken barbecue. Kelly and the fire company also wanted to keep the event going, which has been a Father’s Day tradition the past 49 years.

Today’s chicken barbecue was drive-through only. Usually many people prefer to eat the meals inside the fire hall. But the fire hall remains closed to big crowds. The state currently has limited social gatherings to no more than 25 people.

Joleen Bessel, left, and Valerie Busch add bottles of water to the meals.

This group works on the dinners in the kitchen. Henry Charache scoops the beans into the meal container. Tracey Hendrick, center, is president of the auxiliary and April Fearby, right, is vice president. They had three lines going during the busiest time.

Justin McAdoo wheels some of the meals to a truck bay, where they were picked up in a drive-through lane. Some of the children of the firefighters hitched a ride in the bottom of the cart.

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson helped take the orders.

Kristin McAdoo, first assistant chief for the Ridgeway, collects the money.

Ridgeway’s next big fundraiser will be a gun and cash raffle on Oct. 9.

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