Thousands Enjoy 63rd Annual Northwestern Michigan College Barbecue

Thousands of people enjoying food, the beautiful Northern Michigan sunshine and some good company on Sunday.

It was for a great cause.

The 63rd annual Northwestern Michigan College barbecue was Sunday in Traverse City.

The school says it is one of their biggest fundraisers each year.

“Thousands of people show up and have lunch, play games if you are a family look, go in some of the classrooms, talk with faculty and staff and again learn about your college,” says Timothy Nelson, the president of Northwestern Michigan College.

The NMC barbecue is a fundraising tradition that started 62 years ago by Gerald Oleson, of Oleson’s Food Stores.

“My grandfather started it to help raise money for students and college for class room productions,” says Brad Oleson.

Many Oleson family members have gone to NMC.

They donate all of the food for the BBQ.

People paid eight dollars to get into the event and then got to enjoy BBQ food, and other activities.

“The money goes to projects. Faculty and staff turn in applications to be reviewed, so it may be helping us to plant grasses and work toward getting the college to be carbon neutral, others want equipment for science labs or some want help to support our food pantry for students. Normally we end up with between 30 and $40,000. That then gets distributed to those grants the following year,” says Nelson.

While the event is a great way to raise money for the college, it’s also a time for the community to get together.

“The food was really good. We shared a table with some people we didn’t know and that was kind of nice. I have only been here a couple of times, I went to the museum before I moved, and I will be back. And I picked up some stuff and think I’ll take a class or two,” says Karen Cook, went to BBQ.

Nelson added, “It’s great. It’s fun. I enjoy walking around all day. I used to work one of the lines, and I just walk around see who’s here, talk to them, answer questions and thank people for coming and supporting us.”

NMC would also like to thank all who came out to volunteer for the BBQ.