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Weather Clears, Nathan Weidner 2007 Chicken BBQ is Huge Success

Early Sunday Morning Rain Passes Through - Makes It a Perfect Day

August 12, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: O. J. Cunningham

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Jack Weidner was all smiles by mid-afternoon on Sunday during the 11th Annual Nathan Weidner Chicken BBQ. The rain was long gone and the crowds continued to pour into Vet's Park. "I actually think the crowd is bigger this afternoon than in previous years," Weidner added.

A PAIR OF JACKS - (Right) Jack "Papa" Weidner shares a moment with (Left) Jack Wirt. Alice Wirt sits between the pair of Jacks.

Early in the day on Sunday, the weather looked anything but promising. "You have no idea how hard we were praying (for good weather)," said Mary Garcia, Public Relations Director for the event. "Now it's just a beautiful day," Garcia added. "Thank God."

There were door prizes, hourly drawings, music, entertainment, BINGO, clowns, a dunk tank, a cake walk, and supervised children's play area.

Fundraising supports a scholarship program at Delta College and also the Nathan Weidner Child Advocacy Center for youth in Bay County.

Knights of Columbus Clowns "Rosebud" (Left) and "Sparkle" (Right) entertain Amanda Ziolkowski, Maranda Charbonneau and Sam Strieter. K of C Clowns have been performing at the Weidner BBQ for over 10 years.

As of 2007, The Nathan Weidner Foundation Chicken BBQ has funded around 85 scholarships to Delta College. Over $175,000 in full 2-year scholarships to Delta College have been distributed.

The Chicken Barbecue is held each year in memory of Nathan Weidner, who passed away in September 1994 (age 15) as the result of a tragic accident here in Bay City.

Weidner is remembered as a young man whose nature was to assist those friends he felt were in need by bringing them home for a meal, or giving his old bike away to a friend when Nathan received a new bike. That was typical of his personality and behavior, according to Garcia.

Memorials were first given at his funeral (he was 15 when died) in his memory for use as the family wished. After much thought, it was decided to begin a foundation that assisted neglected and needy youth in Bay County.

Corporate Gold Sponsors for the event are: Wirt Stone Dock,S.C. Johnson, Independent Bank, A.T. Frank, Supreme Floor Covering, Bay Regional Medical Center, Dow Corning Corporation and the Maxwell Pitts Corporation.

"The scholarship program began first. Then the chicken BBQ was developed to involve the community in the fundraiser," Garcia explained.

ICE DUTY Volunteers (L/R) Dick Bork, Beth Dore and Chiko Galaviz bring ice into Vet's Park to keep the beverages cold during the Nathan Weidner Chicken BBQ.

ABOVE:(Left) Super Dave Austin waits in the dunk tank for the next try to put him in the water. (Right) C.J. Velasquez points to the red button that he hit to sink Dave Austin into the dunk tank. With Velasquez is Dunk Tank volunteer Bill Russett.

(Below) Super Dave Austin takes a time-lapse swim in the Nathan Weidner Dunk Tank.

Going . . .

Going . . .

Gone . . .

BBQ CHICKEN - Chicken chefs at the Nathan Weidner Chicken BBQ were: Tim Schwartz, Sonny Powers, Bryan Moon, Mike Chapman, Jim Smith, Crazy Charlie, Tracy Bedell, Dave Bedell and Patrick Steffen.

According to Beth Dore, who was in charge of the food concessions at Vet's Park, 1,400 chicken halves were BBQ'd and another 300 pounds of chicken leg quarters we cooked on the grill.

"We've got about 145 volunteers working on this event," Beth Dore said. "And the response from the community gets bigger and bigger every year," Dore added.

Dore also added that seven new full-ride two-year scholarships to Delta College were also handed out this year.

Below:(Left) Bill Vogel handles the microphone duties during activities in the Big Tent. (Right) Dan Moreau, a scholarship recipient for 2007, dishes out food during the Sunday BBQ>

TRAIN RIDE - Youngsters ride the train during the Nathan Weidner Chicken BBQ. (Front to Back) Landon Partlow, Brady Falardeau, Christian Drummond, Emily Drummond, Kelly Drummond and Ethan Weidner.

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O. J. Cunningham

O. J. Cunningham is the Publisher of Cunningham previously published Sports Page & Bay City Enterprise. He is the President/CEO of OJ Advertising, Inc.

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