TRAVERSE CITY — Mother Nature dished up a glorious day for the Northwestern Michigan College Barbecue, the college's annual fundraiser that attracts thousands to its wooded campus.
"I love it!" said Mike Linger. "I've been coming every year since we moved here in '68. You've gotta support what you believe in."
NMC spokesman Andy Dolan was delighted with the weather, which can turn on a dime in May.
"We lucked into it," Dolan said. "Last year, it was really hot, almost 90 degrees."
The event gives the college a chance to host a massive picnic, show off its programs, and raise up to $60,000. In the time span of six hours, a little more than 10,000 meals are served.
Bob Weaver, 81, has dished up plates of food since about 1970.
"We used to have square dances, but we haven't had that recently," he said.
Morgan Young, 20, said he came for a few good reasons.
"Free tickets. I'm going to be attending NMC. Hungry."
Dozens of educators showed off their wares at the event. Wayne Moody, program coordinator of NMC's Automotive Services Technology, displayed a "green" fleet of vehicles.
"We took apart a Toyota Prius, and put it into a Baha car," Moody said. He pointed to what appeared to be a dune buggy on steroids. "We call it the anti-Prius."
The Barbecue's offerings are too many to list, but include live entertainment, a solar power demonstration, kids' games, children's book readings, and the ever-popular cake walk.
Alex Schmitz, 20, posed with a cake topped with high heels, constructed with red velvet cupcakes, gingerbread cookies and cones for heels.
"This is a family chosen cake," Schmitz stressed.
Jeremiah Brooks, 7, raved about the climbing wall in the obstacle course. Christy Savage, his mom, said she lives in the NMC apartments with her two young sons. She returned to college to study radiology for a better income, she said.