By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Not only is Stepping Stone Shelter’s Spring Sing Barbecue Thing a production the community has come to enjoy over the past five years, it is also the shelter’s primary fundraiser.
The fifth anniversary of the Spring Sing Barbecue Thing this Sunday is expected to see beautiful weather, Stepping Stone Shelter’s Executive Director Pat Allsbury said. However, the first year was a learning experience for the shelter.
“This is number five,” Allsbury said. “The first year we had it in March instead of April, the weather did not cooperate. It was cold and drizzly, we shuffled things around early that morning and made room in the dormitory so we could have it inside. Every year since then it has been outside and in April. It has worked very well.”
The fifth annual Spring Sing Barbecue Thing will take place at the shelter at 1015 North Washington. That, Allsbury said, has been a special feature of the fundraiser.
“It is in our backyard and now that we have the new dining room, we have people eating in there as well,” she said. “We set up Sunday morning. Meisenheimers gets here around 11 or 11:30. At noon, we start serving and people come through the line, pay for their meal and get their plate. It is up to them then if they want to sit inside or whether they want to go outside where the music is.
“The music is being set up that morning also. It can get rather loud,” she added. “Some folks prefer to sit inside. Then we serve until about 3 p.m. Anyone that wants to can come for part or all of it.”
Many local names have performed for the event in the past and this year’s lineup is expected to be no different.
“There will be a lot of people singing,” Allsbury said. “In the past we have had Barbara Holman, C.J. Wettstein, Elizabeth Irby and her daughter, Justin Harrison – just a lot of people. This year, I know Chris Garza will be playing his violin inside and the rest of it will be outside.
“Dalke Davis takes care of the singing,” she explained. “I know C.J. Wettstein will be here, I know Justin Harrison will be singing and I believe Susan Lukwago is singing. I also know there were some others Dalke was talking about trying to get.”
Providing a haven for individuals with no where else to go is not cheap. Allsbury said the shelter depends on Spring Sing Barbecue Thing to raise funds in order to keep the doors open.
“We make our money two ways,” she said. “We charge the $10 for the meal. This year we are giving away a 42-inch flat screen TV, also a Wii and a Blu-ray player. The tickets for those are $10 for one or 3 for $25. They can buy them at the door, they are available here at the shelter before hand and from any board member. I think they are going to have the drawing at about 1:45 p.m. and give all of those away.”
Stepping Stone Shelter’s Board of Directors are responsible for delivering the yearly program to the community. Allsbury said the participation continues to grow each year.
“It is our big fundraiser for the year,” she said. “It has really grown tremendously in five years. Dalke’s goal every year is $10,000. We haven’t seen that yet, but there is always a first.”
Allsbury encourages anyone interested in tickets to call the shelter at 626-6024. She added there will be plenty of entertainment for all ages.
“Come Sunday and enjoy some good music and a lot of fun,” she said. “There will be a lot of kids playing in the backyard. The playground is a busy place for all the kids, they do have a lot of fun.”