It was a scorching hot day at the Crawford County Fairgrounds on Wednesday. The National Weather Service had issued an excessive heat warning, and temperatures hovered in the mid-90s.
"At least it's not raining," said Dane Kennedy.
Kennedy organizes the Bucyrus Kiwanis Club's annual chicken barbecue, which took place Wednesday despite the heat.
"It's just bad luck," he said. "The last three or four years, we've had great weather."
There was no shortage of Kiwanis Club members on hand to help prepare and package the 1,800 meals, each including a half chicken, baked potato, applesauce and a snack cake.
Also at the fairgrounds: Tractors and more on display during 22nd annual Crawford Farm Machinery Show
A steady stream of cars drove through the pick-up line outside the pavilion where the meals were being assembled, even in the mid-afternoon heat.
"We've had a steady pace, pretty much, but we're getting ready for it to hit," member Becky Lutz said Wednesday afternoon.
"We've had a nice turnout so far," Kennedy said.
Aumillerr Park splash pad reaping the barbecue benefits
"This year, all of the money's going to go toward the splash pad," he said, referring to plans to add a water feature at Aumiller Park. "We took on that project, and that will be good for the community."
Club members said dealing with the heat wasn't too difficult.
"We're pretty lucky back in the pit," Kennedy said. "We've have some fans, we're in the shade and a nice breeze, so it hasn't been as bad as everyone thought it would be."
Craig Orewiler was part of the team manning the huge roasting pits. By about 2:30 p.m., the last of the chicken was on the grill.
"We lit everything at about 7 — we started early to beat the heat," Orewiler said. "It worked out good. ... With a nice breeze, it's not been bad. We had a lot of good help, too. Just everybody worked, took a break, worked. It's been a good day."
Orewiler credited Kennedy's for doing a "great job organizing."
Kennedy, who took over the task of organizing the even five years ago, said he's had lots of practice. He learned a lot from his predecessor and has some key people he relies on. Planning for the event takes about five or six months, he said.
"I won't eat chicken for a month," Kennedy said. "I want nothing to do with chicken after this."
This article originally appeared on Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Bucyrus Kiwanis Club serves up 1,800 chicken dinners at annual event