Rotary Club Chicken BBQ Returns to Ottumwa


A familiar smell will be wafting through downtown Ottumwa Tuesday morning as one of the biggest dinners in the City of Bridges returns.

After a year of hiatus because of Covid, the Rotary Club of Ottumwa’s 41st Annual BBQ Chicken Dinner is back as the unofficial kickoff to Oktoberfest. Rotary Club member Ryan Mitchell says the process of cooking so many chickens starts just after sunrise Tuesday morning.

“We light the coals about 7:30/8:00 AM, get those going and we throw the first chickens on about 8:30/9:00 that morning.”

Mitchell says 3,000 chickens are cooked during the day to prepare the dinners. The dinner will be served Tuesday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Bridge View Center. The meal consists of half a chicken, corn, baked beans, a roll with butter, and a beverage.

The meals are $12 for adults and $10 for children. Mitchell says the meals can be picked up via drive-thru or there is a dine-in option as well.

The dinner is the biggest fundraiser for the Rotary Club and Mitchell says the proceeds go to various charitable organizations in Ottumwa.

“Some of them are the Cancer center, Bridge view center, whatsoever you do, coats for kids, the soup Kitchen here [Blessings], the benches you see on the trails, trash cans downtown with the rotary emblem on them, the american Gothic performing arts,” Mitchell said. “I mean, there are so many different charities that it goes to.”

Anyone interested in grabbing a dinner can purchase a ticket from a local Rotarian. Tickets can also be acquired at Fareway, South Side Drug, and the Bridge View Center.

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