Barbecue fundraiser returns to Muskegon

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The first Holy Smokes event took place in 2019, and tickets were sold out. Courtesy Catholic Charities West Michigan

A tasty fundraiser is returning to Muskegon after a hiatus during the pandemic.

Catholic Charities West Michigan (CCWM) will host its second Holy Smokes BBQ Competition from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Pigeon Hill Brewing Co., at 895 Fourth St. in downtown Muskegon.

The barbecue competition will feature pit masters from Dr. Rolf’s Barbeque, The Grilling Company, Bone Ends, Seminole Shores Assisted Living Center, Rolln’ Smoke BBQ and more. Muskegon mayor Ken Johnson will serve as a VIP judge.

Attendees can sample and vote for their favorite offerings for the people’s choice category and also will receive a complimentary pint glass and one drink ticket. Live entertainment from Plain Jane Glory, lawn games and craft beer selections also will be available.

David Bellamy, CEO of CCWM, said the event is a “creative and delicious way” to raise awareness of the organization’s programming and impact in Muskegon.

“During the pandemic, demand for our services to the most vulnerable in our community greatly increased,” Bellamy said. “We’re inviting West Michigan to come join us for a fun afternoon of great barbecue that will support an even greater cause.”

The first Holy Smokes event took place in 2019. Tickets were sold out, and Dr. Rolf’s came away as the winner of the competition.

All proceeds from this year’s event will benefit CCWM programming in Muskegon. Currently, more than 80 employees provide counseling, family preservation, foster care, adoption, pregnancy counseling, senior corps, baby/toddler pantry and behavioral health programs.

Karol Maurer, director of development at CCWM, said the team is glad to be able to bring back Holy Smokes, especially after the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“We’re really excited to foster a sense of community and to celebrate what we do in Muskegon,” Maurer said. “Our staff has been so pivotal and remained strong these past two years. … We’re excited to celebrate that success and the success of our clients too.”

Tickets for Holy Smokes are $50 and can be purchased online or at Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. Those wanting to attend are encouraged to buy tickets in advance.

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