End of the summer bash in Wheaton

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

61st annual Wheaton BBQ set for Aug. 24

The Wheaton Fire Protection District hosts a Community BBQ every August for the last 61 years, and people come from all over to be a part of it.

Lindy Lombard, Wheaton Rural Fire Department fire chief, said it is a great time for people to come together and just have a good time.

“Aug. 24 is our 61st annual BBQ,” he said. “When it was started it was ran by the Wheaton Community Club, and the fire department has taken over for the last 20 plus years.”

Lombard said it is an annual event that brings people from the surrounding area into Wheaton.

“It brings back people who grew up in Wheaton and have moved away,” he said. “It’s a large event, and we have 18 volunteers on the fire department that help organize the event.”

Lombard said the kids rides are all free from 1-8 p.m.

“That is all possible from the help of sponsors that help us out,” he said. “Sponsors and businesses in the surrounding areas really help with all of that.”

Lombard said entertainment will start on the bandstand at 1 p.m. and go until 8 p.m.

“The annual duck race starts at 8 p.m., and that is when we give away $1,000 in prize money from donations,” he said. “The duck race is a lot of fun.

“It is plastic ducks that all have numbers on the bottom, and you can donate $5 to the fire department and you get a ticket with a number. At 8 p.m we put all the ducks in a little pond we make in the park, the ducks float down through it and to the finish line. Then, we announce the winning number, and if that is your number you win $500.”

Lombard said there are five prizes total so the fire department gives away $1,000.

“That is kind of the big finale, because after that, the entertainment closes up,” he said. “I think we will have about six bands playing throughout the day.”

Lombard said the serving starts at 11:30 a.m.

“We will also have a horseshoe pitching contest that starts at 11 a.m.,” he said. “And, the Wheaton Street Machines put on a show and shine car event that is kind of like a car show that begins at 11 a.m.”

Lombard said the Wheaton FFA will have a free petting zoo.

“One of our big draws is the arts and crafts booths,” he said. “We end up with 50-60 craft booths, and we are still registering people who want a craft booth.”

Lombard said he thinks the Wheaton community and surrounding areas look forward to this event each year.

“It happens right after school gets started and is kind of like an end-of-the-summer event,” he said. “The Wheaton Rural Fire Department feels privileged to be able to host this event. It is a lot of work for the people involved with it, but we try to use it to bring the community back together.”

Lombard said the event can be used for class reunions, as well.

“It is a draw for our past graduates and people who have moved away,” he said. “I feel proud of the fire department for being able to keep up with it each year _ it really is a big undertaking.

“We always get excited this time of year to be able to do this for the community.”

Lombard said people come out and volunteer their time to get things set up and even during the event.

“It is a community involved event,” he said. “That is what we get living in a small town and community, and it is amazing.”

For more information about the Wheaton BBQ or to register, people may call Lindy Lombard at 417-652-7359.

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