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Hanson’s annual free barbecue draws a big crowd
Hanson’s Building Supply in Bayview had its 29th free barbecue this past week and, as usual, it was a big success.
More than 900 people were served, including 320 Meals-on-Wheels deliveries to the Bayview Senior Center across the street.
“We do this because we appreciate our customers and this is our way of showing it,” owner Vic Hanson said.
Hanson’s employee Dan Gregory organized the event, which included dozens of vendors displaying their building-trades products, from custom tiles and tools to the latest septic systems.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County, and Senior Services of Island County also had information tables set up, Gregory said.
He said the fees charged the vendors to display at the barbecue covered the cost of the food, and Hanson’s provided the labor.
John O’Brien of Clinton said the event reflected the island’s rural character.
“Well, I’m here for the free food,” he said with a smile. “It’s a good thing Hanson’s is doing, a country thing. Bet they don’t do this in the big city.”
Gregory said that the senior meals and the three-hour event at the store served up 300 Polish sausages, 600 hamburgers, 10 gallons of baked beans, 10 gallons of potato salad and 48 bags of chips.
There also were 1,200 cans of soda and 120 pounds of ice.
“It was a hot day,” he said.
Gregory said $1,000 worth of tools were also given away as door prizes.
He said that this was the 19th consecutive barbecue held by the store, and the 29th overall.
It was the first year for the Meals-on-Wheels portion of the event, Gregory said. The 320 meals were prepared, packaged and delivered to the senior center beginning at 7:30 a.m.
The work was done by Kate Sunderlund, John De Witt, Brandon Henry and Kristin Wheeler of the South Whidbey Island Masters swim team from Island Athletic Club, Gregory said.
He said Hanson’s is planning a lot more meals and “something special” for next year. “But we don’t know just what yet.”
Gregory said he hopes Hanson’s barbecue will set an example for other Whidbey businesses to do something for the estimated
15,000 people here who often go without food. “There are a lot of people hungry on our island,” he said. “We all have to step forward so we don’t miss an opportunity to serve them.”
Record writer Roy Jacobson contributed to this story.