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Cue it up

Rotary to host community barbecue

By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staff Writer
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The tents are already set up and tables waiting for the “Spirit of Auburn BBQ” Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. The 26th annual festivities raised $37,000 last year for area charities. “A large amount of the money raised goes for scholarships,” said Mike Wilson, president of the Rotary Club of Auburn. “Last year, we gave away $15,000 in scholarships. It goes to graduating high school students in our area and it includes academic and vocational scholarships.” According to Wilson, the community barbecue started out as a networking opportunity for local businesses and then spread to the entire community. “It started off for businesses, but it’s grown into an event for families and others in our community.” Mary Jo Payne, chairwoman this year, points out that a 15-member committee of Rotary members makes the barbecue possible. “Last year, we had 1,200 people there,” said Payne, a mortgage loan officer with Citizens Bank in Auburn. “This year we’ve raised $10,500 (in business sponsorship) to date so far.” Rotarian Virgil Traynor does not care for the title head chef, but he’s been around for just about all 26 barbecues, and will be looking over a crew of 16 Rotary cooks. It was not known until recently if salmon would be part of the menu to go along with the chicken, ribs and tri-tip. However, enough salmon became available to go along with side dishes of bread, corn on the cob, salad and beans, he said. “We expect to serve over a thousand,” Traynor said. “We have a good crew. There’s really no head chef. This is the premier fundraiser for the Auburn Rotary Club. It’s good food, fun times and for a good cause.” The fairgrounds gate opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday for the meal. There will be a raffle, silent auction and children activities to follow until 8 p.m. Adult tickets at $25, $10 for children 13 and under, can be purchased at the gate. Proceeds from the ticket sales will help support scholarships, Project Auburn, Boy Scouts, Little League, Peace for Families Christmas Dinner and the Placer Art League. For further information, call (530) 268-2857.