BBQ started as annual Orange Beach Home Demonstration Club picnic
Editor’s Note: Orange Beach native Margaret Childress Long is Orange Beach’s Honorary Historian and author the book, The Best Place to Be The Story of Orange Beach, published in 2006. In 2016, she and co-author Michael D. Shipler also published a second book: Orange Beach, Alabama, A Pictorial History using the hundreds of pictures of old Orange Beach that were not in The Best Place To Be. Both books are available at St. Charles Place in Orange Beach’s Wal-Mart Shopping Center.
By Margaret Long
The annual Community Picnic was started as a project of the Home Demonstration Club which my mother, Dorothy Childress, Ella Callaway and others started in 1951. The Club purchased the land for the Community Center from Edna Walker White in 1959. The dream came true when the Orange Beach Community Center was built in 1972 (remodeled in 2000).
The Club disbanded on July 27, 1965. The annual Picnic that they established turned into the Annual Barbecue and has continued ever since. It is always held on the second Saturday of June.
Roy Blalock, father of Pete and Tem, headed up the Annual Barbecue for years.
My daddy would donate cabbage for the slaw every year. His farm was where my son, Wes Moore, has the gator park, Alligator Alley. The Fire Dept took it over after we became a city. It gets bigger every year.
Pictured: (left) Rebecca Davis and Mary Hayes were summer residents of Cotton Bayou and members of the Home Demonstration Club. (Right) Dorothy Childress, Margaret’s mother, was very involved with the Orange Beach BBQ and was president and founder of the Home Demonstration Club. The club was formed to raise funds for the purchase of land for a community center. The Orange Beach Community Center, site of the BBQ, is still a vibrant part of the Pleasure Island community. (From The Story of Orange Beach, Alabama – The Best Place To Be)