A finger-lickin’ chickin pickin’

Jim Kellenberger at the Chickin Pickin'

That's good eatin'! Pitmaster Jim Kellenberger with his masterpiece.

A breezy, sunny Saturday proved the perfect date to share heaping plates of barbecue with all the fixins’, listen to old time music and help us raise the roof at Yates Mill.

Yates Mill Associates hosted our first Chickin Pickin’ on May 19, welcoming more than 150 guests to Historic Yates Mill County Park for a event that helped us raise funds for upcoming repairs including replacement of the mill roof.

Guests enjoyed chicken and pork barbecue, baked beans, sweet potatoes and cole slaw prepared by volunteer pit-master Jim Kellenberger. Not only did Jim get his crew up before dawn to fire up the smoker near the park’s amphitheater, he donated most of the food.

Larry Hancock, John Vandenbergh, Robbie Wooten

Robbie Wooten (right) shows board chairman Larry Hancock (left) and past president John Vandenbergh (center) how we roll in food service.

Cornbread was provided by a cadre of YMA volunteers who used only the finest cornmeal – ground at Yates Mill, of course. Our Chickin Pickin’ committee chairman, Robbie Wooten, was also the dessert champion, dishing up cobbler, bread pudding and banana pudding along with more volunteer-made treats.

YMA manager Lara Swanson Paul kept volunteers on their toes and at the ready serving up plates in the food line. Arlene Lord, who coordinated ticket sales for more than a month before the event, greeted guests and YMA vice president Carolyn Solomon brightened the scene with decorations for every table.

Dick Thompson and friends

Bring your pals! Board member Dick Thompson (left) did, motoring up from the coast with his friends.

Park staff led by program manager Rebeccah Cope provided yeoman labor, helping YMA volunteers set up the picnic area in the morning, shuttling volunteers around the park, joining the end-of-day clean-up, and making sure we had enough people to carry out the traditional corn-grinding tours that occur on the third weekend of each month.

As corn-grinding drew to a close in the midafternoon, the bands tuned up at the amphitheater. YMA past president John Vandenbergh enlisted the services of our longtime supporters, the Kudzu Ramblers, to open the entertainment. He also introduced us to Yates Mill neighbors Lynda and Jamie Dawson of the popular bluegrass and folk band Kickin’ Grass. When they’re not on tour, the Dawsons live in a nearby farmhouse that used to belong to the Penny family – former Yates Mill owners.

Musicians at Chickin Pickin'

Jan Johansson (right) of the Kudzu Ramblers wraps up the music with the Dawsons.

Thanks to the hard work of these and many other volunteers and to the generosity of guests who not only bought tickets but made additional donations, Yates Mill Associates was able to raise more than $4,000 – a great success for our first fundraiser of this type.

Keep an eye on our website for more fun events and news about the repairs we’ll be doing this fall using the money you graciously donate. If you’d like to make an additional gift, click the “Donate” button on this website or mail a check to Yates Mill Associates at PO Box 10512, Raleigh NC, 27605-0512.

Thanks to all our additional volunteers, including:

  • Charlie Brown
  • Howard Harrell
  • Gary Hunter
  • Sheila Hunter-Wooten
  • Tom Wentworth
  • The McNamara Family
  • Martha Keravuori
  • Larry Hancock
  • Lynette LaRosa
  • Steve Lord
  • William Robbins
  • Dan Solomon
Arlene Lord at Chickin Pickin'

"We can buy nails and shingles and ..." - Arlene Lord counts up.

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