Annual church cookout returns after COVID cancellation

Except for 2020, event has been held for five decades

Church volunteers helped shuck and cook corn for the Cross Keys UMC Annual “Chicken and All the Corn You Can Eat Cookout” on Saturday, Aug. 7.

The Cross Keys United Methodist Church in Williamstown held its 62nd annual Chicken and All the Corn You Can Eat Cookout on Aug. 7, an event that was canceled last year because COVID. 

The first cookout was in 1959,” said Dawn Jennings, cookout chairperson. “It has been on the first Saturday of August for over 50 years (in years prior, the date varied.)” 

“Over the years, the cookout has become something more than just a fundraiser: It is a day of community,” she added. 

The cookout began as a general fundraiser, with donations going toward  something specific. This year, it looked a bit different.

“We usually have an all day yard sale and country store,” said Jennings, “which serves lunchtime meals and includes a bake table, vegetable stand and other church items  (T-shirts, cookbooks, etc.). However, given the pandemic, we focused on the dinner.”

During that meal — offered throughout the event — the church served grilled chicken made in the church’s special sauce, baked beans, cucumber and tomato salad, along with all the corn a guest could eat.

For safety’s sake, all meals were offered as takeout with drive-thru or parking. Limited seating was offered in Faith Hall, so guests could have an in person experience.   

Although a year was missed, the cookout remained a success, in part because  of 50 to 60 volunteers. 

 This was not our normal cookout with all of the extras that go on all day,” Jennings noted. “We are thankful and blessed that we were able to provide this community event and for the wonderful support from the community.”