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Rotary grilling up good times tonight

By: Bridget Jones, Journal staff writer
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The Gold Country Fairgrounds will come alive today with a celebration of community and great food. The 26th annual Spirit of Auburn BBQ, hosted by the Auburn Rotary, starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and dinner. This annual event is a chance for all community members to come together and reconnect while sharing a relaxing evening. “There’re a number of people that with life, don’t get out to community events that often, but they don’t want to miss this event,” said Rotary President Elect Mike Wilson. “I can’t think of another community event that is as large … for the type of community event that it is.” The barbecue will include tri-tip, chicken, ribs, salmon, corn on the cob, beans, salad, bread, and a dessert item, Wilson said. Community members can also enjoy bidding on items such as restaurant dinners, gift baskets, rugs, and cabin rentals at a silent auction. Similar items will also be raffled off every 15 minutes until 8 p.m., Wilson said. Children and the young at heart can also enjoy clown-made balloon novelties, face painting, a bounce house and a climbing wall. Wilson said these items make the barbecue fun for every member of the family. “We’ve definitely targeted it to be not only a business networking event, but also a family event,” Wilson said. The Auburn Police Department and Placer County Sheriff’s Department will also be in attendance with a chance for residents to see officials from the mounted patrol, Search & Rescue team and SWAT team, according to barbecue Chairwoman Mary Jo Payne. Proceeds from the barbecue started benefiting the community from the moment tickets went on sale. According to Wilson, various local non-profit organizations such as PlacerArts, Boy Scouts-Gold Country District and Auburn Little League assisted in the sale of tickets. Out of every $25 ticket sold, these organizations keep $15. The remaining $10 of every ticket sale were used to purchase the food for the barbecue. All other proceeds from the barbecue are put into the Rotary’s benevolent fund, much of which is donated back to the community’s non-profit groups. A large percentage of this fund goes to academic and vocational scholarships for local high school students. Last year Rotary donated $15,000 to these scholarships, said Wilson. With 1,200 people predicted to attend, Payne said the barbecue is like a big family meeting. “The people I invited last year…they hadn’t seen (certain community members) for a long time,” Payne said. “It definitely is many people getting together who haven’t seen each other in awhile. I think it keeps the community at more of a small-town feel. That’s why it’s such a nice event.” ---------- Spirit of Auburn BBQ Hosted by: Auburn Rotary When: 5:30 p.m. today Where: Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St. Cost: $25 adults, $10 children 13 and under Call: (530) 268-2857