CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -The 90th Mallard Creek Barbecue is underway and ready to serve around 20,000 people.
Volunteers with the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church started getting the delicious food together since last week. The cooks and grill masters will not only be preparing 2,500 gallons of the famous stew, but also 14,000 pounds of barbecue and 2 tons of slaw.
Organizers were stationed at 4 a.m. Thursday, getting ready. People were able to start purchasing food by 9 a.m.
People have been coming nonstop the event kicked off and it’s clear that this barbecue - which started as a way to pay off debt at the start of the Great Depression in 1929 - has turned into a community reunion that keeps people coming back for more.
“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” Alethia Brown said.
One man showed up four hours before serving time. He said he’s missed the famous brunswick stew for the past five years, and he wasn’t going to let this be year six.
This long-standing tradition is a significant part of the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church history. The church was built long ago, in the early 1800s. Ninety years ago, church members started this tradition to not only help support the upkeep of the church, but also to help fund the numerous community outreach projects and missions trips the church offers.
It’s grown so much that, even with now four drive-thrus, traffic from hungry attendees is something that gets significantly backed up on the day of the event.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Rusty Wallace, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s good fellowship but it’s all for a good cause. There’s a lot of volunteer help here. They don’t mind coming out and we have a good time."
The 90th Annual Mallard Creek Barbecue will be held Thursday starting at 10 a.m. at 11400 Mallard Creek Road.
The volunteers opened in prayer Thursday morning.
Traffic is expected to be heavy, so be prepared. An accident Thursday morning caused additional backups.
A large portion of the money raised will go to help with disaster relief efforts, as well as local and international missions.
Keep in mind if you’re coming out, it’s not at the church but at the activity center. Off I-85 take Mallard Creek Church Road up to Mallard Creek Road and take a right.