A beachin’ Bakken BBQ set for Friday: 8th annual Make-A-Wish fundraiser returns
Known as one of the biggest fundraiser events of the year, the 8th Annual Bakken BBQ is ready to light up the Dickinson scene once again with its all-you-can-eat-grub buffet benefit that helps raise proceeds for Make-A-Wish North Dakota.
The Bakken BBQ runs from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at the West River Ice Center parking lot with 14 different local vendors spicing up new recipes and entrees for this year’s event. From 10 raffle tickets and over $20,000 in prizes, the event will feature a live auction; a kiddy corner with face painting, jumping castles and games; and a mechanical bull and music by Powerplay DJ.
Bakken BBQ co-founders Jackie Jenkin and Tiffany Steiner are eager to kick off the festivities for a greater cause.
“We’re just really excited. The community really rallies around this event, and it makes a huge difference. It just shows us what our community does for Make-A-Wish North Dakota and how much North Dakota and Dickinson, they just really come behind these events and support them through and through,” Steiner said. “And that means so much to Jackie and I because we could not do our event without the community, the cookers, the sponsors and all of that. They make it possible for us to raise money for children in need, and I feel like this year, even with the downturn of oil prices and given the circumstances of COVID, we’ve definitely had probably the most support from our community.”
Even companies that are not able to be there this year due to the oil price drop are still willing to donate something and help out any way they can, Steiner noted.
This year’s cooking companies include: Denny’s Electric + Extreme Underground, Elite Lift Solutions, G & G Garbage, Hurricane + North Country Oil + Screaming Eagle Energy, Ion Field Services, JRA Rentals, ND Energy Services, NewKota Services & Rentals, WellPro Inc., Wendt & Sons Oilfield Services LLC, WPX Energy and Wyoming Casing Service. All will compete against each other to win the “much-coveted trophy” and BBQ bragging rights, and they’ve been crafting up secretive recipes to unveil at Friday’s event, Jenkin said.
“The food is amazing, and the time the companies spend on this food — people had started planning this food last year after the Bakken BBQ so everybody is anxious to get going and cook their food,” Jenkin said, noting that the cooking companies don’t reveal their entrees until the last minute.
Even though the Bakken BBQ Committee is excited to bring back this community event, this year’s BBQ will take safety precautions into account to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by having hand sanitizer and handwashing stations available, tables will be spaced out and handkerchiefs will be available for purchase. The committee is following all of the current health guidelines submitted by the state, Steiner said, adding that the outdoor event will allow for social distancing.
Since the Bakken BBQ began in 2013, the committee has raised over $400,000 for Make-A-Wish. Last year was a record year; the event brought in $100,000 with over 2,500 in attendance, Steiner said. The year 2019 will be difficult to beat because it was the most populated and there were more companies cooking, she said.
However, this year’s goals are no different, and the committee hopes to rake in another $100,000 for Make-A-Wish North Dakota and hopes the warm weather will produce a large turnout, Steiner added.
“This is our eighth year doing this so all of these companies and sponsors have become like family to us, and it has become something that they look forward to sponsoring and look forward to attending,” Steiner said. “To Jackie and I, I feel like this is Christmas morning; we get super excited but now we see that in other people that plan their year around it. They plan their summer around coming to the Bakken BBQ, and to me, that just shows that we have successfully planned an event but people truly look forward to coming and making a difference in our community.”
Throughout the past few years, Steiner and Jenkin had the opportunity to meet some of the recipients of the Make-A-Wish donation proceeds, and the connection the committee makes with families is amazing, Jenkin said.
“I think the reason for the Bakken BBQ and the cause for people coming (is that) we give back locally, so it may be a child down the street that is signing up for Make-A-Wish North Dakota that has some sort of condition that would qualify them for Make-A-Wish,” Jenkin said. “So we look at it as we’re helping our neighbor and we’re making a difference in our community because it truly does go back to our children… It’s so cool just to hear their experience of being involved with Make-A-Wish; it’s truly touching.”
With this year’s setbacks from the coronavirus to falling economies, this event is something that will spur excitement and positivity in people with this year’s theme as “Come have a Beachin' Good Time,” Jenkin added.
“Well, 2020 has been a difficult year for everybody, and I think I’m just looking forward to getting together with these companies that have taken so much time to still stick it through and to get together and have a good time with them and meet new people that we haven’t met,” she said. “So our community coming together, as a whole, is a really big thing for us this year.”
Tickets can be purchased at the event or in advance by visiting the Bakken BBQ Facebook page. Adult entry fee is $20, children ages 9-15 are $10 and children 8 and under are free. For more information, call 701-260-8928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.