Meldrum Bay beef barbecue celebrates 40th anniversary

Shucks! A group of volunteers take part in shucking the corn before it was cooked at the Meldrum Bay Beef barbecue last Saturday.

MELDRUM BAY—The annual Meldrum Bay beef barbecue has been a true Manitoulin and family tradition for the past 40 years, and with the response to this year’s event held over the long weekend, it will probably continue well into the future.

“We had about 198 people for the dinner,” said Dale Van Every, who is part of the contingent, along with his son Scott, who barbecues the beef, as well as many other community members who help out at the annual event.

Along with the scrumptious dinner, the day’s events included a baseball game and washer toss tournament.

“The first barbecue I was involved in was at one in Grimsby,” said Mr. Van Every. (His brothers) “Don, Bill and I talked about having one up here (in Meldrum Bay) and Jimmy (also his brother) said we should get a small pig and I could barbecue it here. I wondered how I was going to cook a pig for 75 people—I had never cooked a pig in my life!”

“I phoned the guy where I had helped at the barbecue (in Grimsby) for suggestions and recommendations,” said Mr. Van Every, who noted the first four years of the barbecue a pig was roasted “and starting in year five we barbecued beef.”

“In the now 40 years the beef barbecue has been held I missed one year of cooking when I got stuck working at Stelco on the long weekend,” said Mr. Van Every.

Scott Van Every, left, and his father Dale man the barbecue at the 40th annual Meldrum Bay Beef barbecue.

Mr. Van Every said, “the barbecue started out as a family thing, and eventually began to be for the whole community. The Southern Ontario Haweaters kept it going for five-six years and donated the costs of the hall until the DCIA (Dawson Citizens Improvement Association) were able to take over.”

“It is a lot of fun doing this,” stated Mr. Van Every. As for the rumours that this might have been the final year of the event, “if you can help make money for the community with this type of event, everyone has fun. When you get a crowd like we got this year you have to do it and continue the dinner. Maybe the crowd on hand was so big because they thought it might be the last one. But, we will continue.”