Barbecue fundraiser, Christmas parade and expo on tap

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department is getting busy — and not just with fire calls.

The department will officially launch the holidays with Chocowinity’s annual Christmas parade and expo on Nov. 18. But before that, they’ll be hosting their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“I think everybody looks forward to the barbecue first, because they always know that the barbecue and the expo are back to back,” said Chocowinity VFD Chief Tommy Pendley.

Saturday, the squad will be serving 1,200 to 1,500 barbecue, chicken and combo plates to the public in a bid to raise money for additional equipment needed outside of what’s budgeted with its share of county taxes.

“We have three or four guys — we come out on Friday night, start about 8:30-9 o’clock, and we’re up all night (cooking),” Pendley said. “Most of the time we have people lined up at 10 o’clock to get plates. They don’t have to get out of their vehicles. We’ll bring the plates to you or you can dine in.”

Plates will be sold starting at 11 a.m. until the food runs out, Pendley said. The cost is $8 per plate and the Chocowinity VFD Ladies Auxiliary will be selling pies, cakes, cupcakes and cookies for donation.

As organizers of the Christmas Expo, the Ladies Auxiliary also plays a large role in the coming holiday festivities. While the annual parade starts at 10 a.m. on Nov. 18, the expo is open for business at 6:30 a.m. More than 40 vendors are signed up to set up in the department’s bay, selling a range of items, from homemade delicacies to crafts and Christmas decorations. Santa will be available for pictures from 7-9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Angels n Camo will be hosting its own fundraiser with breakfast for sale starting at 6 a.m.

Lori Avery, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, said the money raised through fundraisers such as Saturday’s dessert sales and the Christmas expo goes directly back to the department.

“We buy the things that we know that they need that we can afford,” Avery said.

In the past, that’s meant purchases of the lettering on the fire department’s building and commercial refrigerator. Next on the list is a new stove, Avery said.

Avery said there a few vendor spots remain for the expo; the fire department is also accepting applications for parade participants.

“It doesn’t cost anything to be in the parade,” Pendley said. “Last year we had, I think, 78 entries. We’re hoping to break that this year and make that 80. … We’ll just hope it will be a little cooler this year — last year, it was in the eighties. I hate complaining about the warm weather, but that’s eastern North Carolina weather for you.”

Avery and Pendley said their looking forward to the annual events and seeing the community come out to celebrate.

“The fire department, as well as the auxiliary, always thanks the community for their support,” Avery said. “Sometimes you get caught up in all these things, you forget to say ‘thank you,’ but we are very thankful.”

Vendor applications are available at the front table at the fire department and though the Ladies Auxiliary website. Parade applications can be found at