Community deserves our support

Published 10:13 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

For 21 years, Smoke on the Water, Washington’s waterfront barbecue festival, has entertained the masses. Fire engine pulls, races, decked out barbecue-cookers’ tents, parades, skydivers, dragon boats — there have been many fun and fantastic events tacked on to festival, and the evolution of Smoke on the Water continues to pull people to the waterfront, from near and far.

But the focus is, ultimately, the barbecue. The barbecue is some of the best eastern North Carolina has to offer, and at least one person will walk away a barbecue champion.

Barbecue may be the draw, but many people don’t realize the true reason this contest exists. Year after year, Smoke on the Water organizers Washington (noon) Rotary take the money this event raises and parses it out throughout the year and throughout the community. They give money to the local food pantry, to support to the arts, afterschool programs, STEM programs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, homeless and domestic violence shelters, scholarships — you name the nonprofit and, more than likely, Smoke on the Water proceeds have been passed on to support the community, to support the people of this community.

It’s not only (noon) Rotary that’s using the event to shore up funding for worthy causes. For example, the Civitans on the Pamlico club hosts a breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.; Washington Montessori Public Charter School hosts a 5K, and this year, the Pantego Volunteer Fire Department is joining in to host a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

On the surface, Smoke on the Water is just a good time, and an event that puts Washington on the barbecue-lover’s map. But look a little deeper and Smoke on the Water is a valuable part of this community, one that gives back to its own.

So, even if you’re not in the mood for barbecue, there’s always chili from the Chili Cook Off for sale. Even if you’re not in the mood for barbecue or chili, buying either or both is putting money in the pockets of nonprofits that provide real services — physically, mentally, emotionally and culturally.

Events like Smoke on the Water are the backbone of community. And community deserves our support.