- by Norm Veliquette,
     Elk Rapids Rotarian
Rotary's chicken barbecue (BBQ) at Harbor Days began and continues as an outstanding community service project.
he BBQ helps feed the surge of visitors who come to the festival each year.  It is a modest fundraiser from which profits are reinvested in good works to benefit the community. The Village Market deserves a huge shout-out for its many generous donations of food and supplies.
Each year from the 1950s to the 1980s, Rotarians built a new BBQ pit of cement blocks. It was heavy work, and the blocks were expensive. Racks to hold meat over the fire were custom-built by Rotarians at Joe Yuchasz's Northwestern Specialty Company.  Clean-up was also heavy work because, during each barbecue, heat from the fire would destroy the concrete blocks.
In 1989, I designed and built a steel cooker, which was easily transported to and from the grilling venue. It was used by the club for more than 30 years but turning the racks to cook half-chickens was still heavy work. 
With consumer preferences changing toward greater convenience in food choices, Rotarians elected in 2022 to offer pulled pork and pulled chicken, an adjustment that can help us continue to deliver appealing, tasty and healthy food during Harbor Days.