Linda Pettit briefly addressed the crowd while Sean Fullerton took a quick break from performing.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
In the name of safety, The Friends of the Dover Council on Aging held their annual Up in Smoke Barbecue in the midst of a downpour on Wednesday evening, September 8. But while in years past the weather might have put a damper on the celebration, having had to cancel the event last year because of COVID-19, and with it looking like many of their other events won’t happen in the near future, nobody seemed to mind a little rain when they ventured out of the comfort of the tents set up outside the Caryl Community Center.
“We’ve been holding our Up in Smoke Barbecue almost every year for close to fourteen years, with the exception of last year,” Linda Pettit, the President of the Friends of the Dover Council on Aging, explained. “It’s normally held in June, but because of COVID, this year we decided to move it to the fall, to September. This is a community-wide event, it’s not a fundraiser, but an opportunity for the community to get together. We have hot dogs and hamburgers, sausages and more, and it’s typically from about four to seven, usually the second week in June. And we have entertainment - for the last couple of years by Sean Fullerton who grew up in Dover and sings and plays his guitar for us.”
While Pettit said she hoped to return the event back to June in the near future, she also acknowledged the rain likely kept it smaller than it had been in years past. But while they thought about moving the barbecue inside, after consulting with the Board of Health they realized that in the interest of safety, rain or not, they were better off keeping the event outdoors.
“We were going to, if it really rained, move inside. However, the Board of Health felt that was not a good option, so we scrambled this year because of the storm to get a lot more tents and still hold it outside, even knowing we would have a much lower turnout. We normally have anywhere between 110 and 150 people. Today, we’re probably at about fifty or sixty people.”
Of those guests, the most notable was likely Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott, who made his way to every table to say hello to the event-goers.
The barbecue took on a special importance this year because Pettit doubts the fall’s big fundraiser, the Harvest Brunch, is going to happen, for the second straight year. This is a shame because Pettit noted the group donates a fair amount of money to the Dover COA every year, which has been spent on trips, transportation, and most recently a premium Zoom account, which allowed the Lifetime Learning programs, exercise and ukulele classes to keep going.
So while the rain may have lessened the numbers of individuals willing to come out to the Up In Smoke BBQ on the 8th, the real impact of the Friends of the Dover Council on Aging is being felt everyday.
Sounds like a good friend to have.