71st Blackman BBQ – canceled

For the first time in 71 years, the Blackman Barbecue will not take place.

“This year we decided to go ahead and cancel it. The coronavirus threw us out,” said John L. Batey, president of the Blackman Community Club. “It was a hard decision to make. But everything changes.”

Batey said there were too many “what ifs” to continue with plans for the barbecue, which was set for the last Friday in June.

“It seems so far off. But everything we’ve got to do — planning for food and meat — is right now,” Batey said. “A lot of things might not even open up until July.”

Batey said many members on the planning committee are in at-risk populations for COVID-19, so there was an even bigger consensus to cancel this year’s event.

“We were worried about getting so many people together in a large crowd,” Batey said.

The barbecue was originally started in 1949 when women from the Blackman Home Demonstration Club held a fundraiser to start a community center. After years of fundraising, the Blackman Community Center club was built on Manson Pike.

The Blackman Barbecue became a tradition that drew hundreds, and later thousands, back to the community for fellowship and food.

Eventually, the annual event became so popular that it had to move to Lane-Agri Park and most recently, The Grove at Williamson Place.

The barbecue has always served as a fundraiser for the Blackman Community Club, which maintains the clubhouse and gives out scholarships.

Batey said there is no word if the club will host any other kind of fundraiser in its place this year.

“We’ll just wait and see,” Batey said.