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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall River Free BBQ a Small Town Tradition

What would make people wait in a line over a block long on a small town Main Street that is blocked off to traffic?
 What would make guys work to dig a hole in the ground on a cool September Saturday?
 Where could this much meat be headed?
 The meat was headed to that hole in the ground where it is cooked to absolute perfection and has been for 50 years.  The Fall River Free BBQ has been held for 50 years in the small town of Fall River, Kansas right in the heart of the Flint Hills.  The small town does not have many businesses left in town unless you count the Flint Oak Hunting Club a few miles outside of town.  Cell service is spotty at best, but every year hundred come to eat a good meal, buy a few raffle tickets, maybe play a game or two and see old friends.
 If you want to see what small town America was/is like, then you really should make the drive to Fall River the third Saturday in September just off of 400 Highway.  Volunteers do everything from the cooking and set up to the cleanup afterwards.  They have a few laughs, but they also work really hard.
 The menu has ALWAYS included smoked meat, loose meat sandwiches, white bread, ham and beans, potato chips, pickles and iced tea or water. 
 The piece de resistance is the BBQ sauce.  I am not kidding.  There is no BBQ sauce anywhere that I have tried that tastes anything like it.  If you love it as much as I do, stick around until the end and you can buy some of the leftovers.  I haven't been given the recipe, but I have been told the special ingredient is red hot candies.
 As kids we always went to the Fall River BBQ.  My dad's birthday happened to line up perfectly with it and that is where he always wanted to go eat.  It probably helped that he could pay whatever he wanted for the food.  Did I mention this truly is a free BBQ?  You can donate whatever you feel you can afford and no one judges.  There are collection jars at the end of the tables that you can slip your donation into.  The cost of the BBQ is at least $10000 depending on the price of beef.

And there is the Sr. Citizens/Handicapped serving line. Kids can volunteer to help serve those who can't or shouldn't wait in line. Their only reward is a fun size candy bar purchased by Miss Jackie, and they get to fill their plates in that line once all seniors, etc. are served.  You might also notice that Miss Ruthie (in the green) probably should have been one of those being served, but is instead helping out!  I miss her.  She was one of my Grandma's best friends.

 That is a whole lot of beans!!!!!!!
 If you are looking for something to do this weekend, be sure to check out the Fall River Free BBQ.  Serving starts at 6:00 pm on Main Street, but there are activities planned all day starting with breakfast and 7 am and ending with fireworks at 9 pm.

What is your favorite small town festival?

A special thanks to my friend Kimber for sharing her pictures with me, so I could do this post.

-A Kansas Farm Mom