By LINCOLN DAVIDSON
Sunshine and warm weather surrounded the Ada Jenkins Center‘s annual FIRE fundraiser Saturday, as local residents and Ada Jenkins staff and volunteers gathered to socialize, eat barbecue and, in a new twist for 2013, to dance.
Ada Jenkins Center Executive Director Georgia Krueger expected this year’s event would raise around $30,000 for the regional community services center, on Gamble Street on Davidson’s west side. The money helps pay for the center’s variety of services, which include a food pantry, an after-school program, tutoring, free medical and dental clinics, and funds to help families struggling with rent or utilities bills to get back on their feet.
While it’s not the largest fundraiser the Ada Jenkins Center holds each year, it’s certainly the most fun, an opinion reiterated by many attendees. Despite Saturday’s heat, Ada Jenkins supporters couldn’t be dissuaded from coming out to support the center, including the entire Community School of Davidson football team.
“We all practice here, so we decided to come out because of all they do for the community. Helping out’s the least we can do,” Austin Babb said.
Many participants cited the community impact of the Ada Jenkins Center as the reason they attended.
“We’re huge advocates of Ada Jenkins,” said barbecue cook Michael Bailey, of Snicker Pig Bar-B-Que, “What makes Ada Jenkins so great is they don’t just give it out, they walk along with you.”
One volunteer said the event’s community-oriented nature.
“It’s got barbecue, dancing, all the parts of good family fun,” said longtime Ada Jenkins volunteer Paul Sheeter.
Six barbecue teams, both professional and amateur, competed to cook up the best ‘cue on Saturday. In addition to a “Best Barbecue” award selected by a panel of judges, teams could also win “People’s Choice” and “Best Setup” awards, selected by votes texted-in by attendees. A $10 ticket could get you either samples from five different barbecues, a plate of barbecue with “all the fixings” or 3/4 pound of barbecue to take home.
“I suggest to everyone that they get two tickets, so they can taste everything and then take some home,” Krueger said.
First place for “Best Barbecue” went to the team from Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails, while Bordeaux Grillers took second and 2 Live ‘Cue came in third. The “People’s Choice” award went to the team from Davidson Beverage Co. and Bordeaux Grillers nabbed “Best Setup.”
“It’s always a great event, especially when there’s sunshine,” said former Ada Jenkins board member Andi Marshall. “And sampling all the barbecue is always fun!”
RELATED COVERAGE AND LINKS
More about the Ada Jenkins Center at adajenkins.org