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Scottdale Rotary sets annual chicken barbecue

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
marilyn forbes I For the Independent-Observer
Flipping the dozens of chicken for a thorough cooking are Scottdale Rotarians Mike Tomasello and Carl Shaffer at the 2013 barbecue.

Scottdale residents can get prepared for a familiar aroma.

The Scottdale Rotary Club's annual barbecued chicken fundraiser sale is scheduled to take place from noon until 5 p.m. July 19 at the Standard Bank, 100 Pittsburgh St.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” said Ed McNally, president of the Scottdale Rotary Club. “We always do something for the community. We're working on a district grant, but we can't yet disclose who will be getting the money.”

Another traditional use of the funds is scholarships for Southmoreland seniors. This year, the Rotary Club handed out five — to Paige Weaver, Davis Simon, Nicole Markiewicz, Heather Overly and Tara Ritz — instead of the traditional four.

“They were so close together we couldn't make a decision, so we gave out five instead of four,” McNally said.

The club president added that funds raised from the barbecue also go to Rotary International's fight to eradicate polio, a project begun in the Philippines in 1979.

In past years, funds have been used to supply park benches, a picnic table and a bike rack at the park that leads to the elementary school, computers for the Scottdale Historical Society building and dictionaries for all third-grade students in the Southmoreland School District, as well as St. John the Baptist and Mt. Carmel Christian elementary schools.

Advanced tickets are available for $10, with the price tag at $12 if purchased the day of the barbecue. Tickets are available at various locations in the borough, such as Standard Bank, Wash N Tan and Geary Chiropractic Health Center. Festivities will include a 50/50 drawing.

The menu is similar to previous years and includes half a chicken, cole slaw, applesauce, a roll with butter, a chocolate chip cookie and a cold drink. A drink was not included on the menu in the past.

“If you hit town around 11 (a.m.), you'll smell it,” McNally said. “We fire it up about 9:30 a.m.”

The chicken made for the event is a secret recipe.

“There is a concoction, we usually keep secret,” McNally said. “It was brought to us by a former Rotarian from Iowa. He was a Mennonite and used to do a chicken barbecue with this sauce. It's not a barbecue sauce you would usually be thinking of that uses a tomato sauce. In my mind, it's much better.”

Ralph Geary, a Rotarian who has served four terms as club president in the past, said the Rotarians have been holding the barbecue for about 20 years. He has watched it grow in popularity.

“Years ago, we really had to push it,” he said. “Now, we have people asking us a month in advance when are we going to do it.”

The answer to that question is quite simple. It's always the third Saturday in July.

“We just picked it to let people know when it's coming and to let our members know not to take vacation that week,” Geary said.

Geary added that pre sales have been going well.

The club orders 400 halves of chicken.

“We usually get 100 to 125 walk-ins,” McNally said. “We actually end up having to turn people away.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or