“Everybody missed it [last year], the fact that it wasn’t there,” said Rick Schloemer, past president of the Cartersville Lions Club. “[The barbecue started in] ’29. ... [I think the barbecue is popular because of] the food. There’s [also] a lot of people that only see each other [at this event].”
With the barbecue generating between $2,500 and $6,000 each year, its proceeds help the club fund several of its community projects.
“It is definitely one of our bigger fundraisers, or it used to be in the past,” said Fred Carlson, secretary for the Cartersville Lions Club. “... I guess [at] the highest attendance, we were at around 1,000. We’ve dropped that down to probably  or 600 in the past few years, and I’m not sure where it’s going to be this year.
“The proceeds goes to a number of things. Locally, we provide eyeglasses and eye exams ... for people that qualify. We also support the Georgia Lions Lighthouse. All the Lions of Georgia support it and we do that through contributions and donations. They provide eye surgeries [and] also eyeglasses and exams.”
The funds also will support the creation of a Braille trail, which will be an ongoing project for the Bartow County Lions Club and Cartersville Lions Club.
“We’re hoping to get that underway early this summer,” Carlson said, adding the Bartow County Lions Club currently is a branch of the Cartersville Lions Club and will be receiving its charter in the near future. “It will be, of course, along the walking trail out at Dellinger [Park]. ... It will have a rope that will be alongside it and there will be stopping areas with plaques that will be written in English, of course, and then have the Braille on it as well. So they might be walking down and they might come up to a large pine tree and it will explain the type of pine tree and they can feel the bark.
“... [This type of trail] gets them out and active. It gives them an area that they can walk along. ... The club president has been contacted by a couple of organizations, young adults, college students that are vision impaired that will be taking trips to Dellinger to use it and have picnics at the shelters.”
Tickets for the barbecue, which will cost $10, can be obtained at Ace Hardware, 924 West Ave., Cartersville; Action Rental, 13 Center Road, Cartersville; Leslie Simmons Law Firm, 1105 N. Tennessee St., Cartersville; and Wes-Mans Restaurant, 3167 Highway 411, White. For delivery, call or text Schloemer at 404-247-4200.
“We really need the support,” Carlson said. “There’s a lot of things that we do. The more funds that we bring in, the more that we can do for the community. We’re very community-oriented. I can assure you the majority of funds all go back to the community or the organization.
“... In the past, we’ve always had [our barbecue] on a Wednesday. ... But we felt that was inconvenient for people, [to hold it on] a work day. ... So we chose to [move it to] Saturday. We weren’t able to do it last year because the Cartersville club just didn’t sell enough tickets and felt we didn’t have the manpower to complete that task. We’ve already discussed it. If we only have 20 people, we’re still doing the barbecue and we’ll go have fun. And we’re still going to continue all our service activities.”