Summertime Barbecue and Family Fun

This is a free week! I decided to write about an event I attended this weekend. It involves two of my favorite activities: performing and eating!


The band competed for attention with the softball game behind us.

One of the advantages of living in West Michigan is that in less than an hour I can go from standing in downtown Grand Rapids (the second largest city in the state) to standing in the middle of a cornfield. It’s just as easy for me to attend cultural events in town as it is to enjoy small-town festivals. This past weekend the Zeeland Community Band performed at the annual Chicken Barbecue in Drenthe. Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day, and we set up in the shade of the leafy trees in Drenthe Grove Park. The softball team warned us to beware of foul balls, but fortunately there were no casualties!

Drenthe 2015

Local families support the BBQ and enjoy the activities offered.

The community of Drenthe is one of several tiny towns south of the corridor between Grand Rapids and Holland. It’s what we call a charter township, which means it’s larger and more autonomous than a village, but still subject to the authority of a nearby city (in this case, Zeeland). Like several other communities in the area, Drenthe is named for a region in the Netherlands, where a large percentage of residents claim their heritage. Most of the year it’s a sleepy little farm town, but for the annual Chicken Barbecue the roads going through it require extra personnel to direct traffic.

Drenthe 2015Line

The line for the famous grilled chicken was just as long at 6 pm as it was at 4 pm!

Each year, on the third Saturday of August, the citizens of Drenthe put on a huge celebration, complete with animal petting zoo, softball tournament, antique tractor display, and of course, mouth-watering chicken. People stand in line for the famous grilled chicken (or hot dogs for the little ones). According to the Holland Sentinal, 1700 half-chickens were served at last year’s celebration. Proceeds go toward improvements to the park. It’s so nice to see this tradition continue to flourish, even after sixty years.

Drenthe is the type of tight-knit community I had in mind when I wrote about a fictional town called Zutphen, Michigan. The people know each other and are willing to pitch in when there is a problem. Below are the book covers to my books featuring this town—just click on the cover you like to read more about it.

ChristmasWishes 500x750 (1)ChristmasJourney 500x750


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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9 Responses to Summertime Barbecue and Family Fun

  1. jeff7salter says:

    sounds like a wonderful tradition — one that can be enjoyed by both the old-timers and newbies attending their first one.
    The year I lived in Iowa (Mt. Pleasant) there was a similar-sounding festival in early June, I believe. They called it “Old Threshers” and the highlight was the array of antique (but some still functioning, I believe) threshing machines. The area was known for its hybrid corn while I was there (1965-66) but I’ve always thought of threshing machines as related to wheat and hay and such. Maybe corn had nudged those out in the decades leading up to the time I was there.


  2. This sounds like a wonderful event. It is the type of thing my family likes to attend. It must be fun to get to play there. Do you play there every year?


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I guess it’s a tradition. I play in the Zeeland Community Band, and Drenthe is part of the Zeeland township. I’ve only played in the band for the last three or four years.


  3. Sounds like a great time was had by all! Ad the weather cooperated, too! How wonderful. It must be very gratifying to be in the band.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I always enjoy myself when performing with a group, Tonette. I went about twenty years (when the girls were small) when I didn’t play more than once or twice a year. It’s taken me a while to get back into it!


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