Grill for a Cause 2016

Joni Bethel checks on the burgers and chicken at the 2016 Grill for a Cause.

Event coordinator Milly McCartney said for five years, Brooklyn’s Grill for a Cause and Family Fun Day used to be a grilling competition she held in her backyard.

But this year, in partnership with the Brooklyn Area Chamber of Commerce, the shindig will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Brooklyn’s Legion Park, in conjunction with village garage sales. Proceeds will benefit the Brooklyn Elementary PTO playground fund.

McCartney said the chamber saw how popular her “baby” was becoming in the community.

The event is free for all who would like to attend. McCartney said she anticipated a turnout of 250 people this year, in comparison to 125 last year.

The mainstay remains the grilling competition, which will feature poultry this year. McCartney told the Observer on May 6 there are still four spots out of 12 open to compete, for a fee of $20.

Participants will receive a “Grill for a Cause” apron, and attendees can also purchase the aprons for $15.

As an added bonus, competitors will be able to receive a “Grill Camp” award for “dressing up” their camp in a style of their choosing. Spectators will vote on their favorite camp, McCartney said.

There will also be live music, with Jage Nichols Music performing acoustic tunes from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Back 40 playing country from 1-2 p.m. and Olee Stokes performing outlaw bluegrass from 2-5 p.m.

If you’re not a cook, but would still like to attend, there will be raffles, a silent auction, kids activities and games, chicken bingo and items to purchase on Vendor Row. There will also be food trucks from Ziggy’s Barbeque Smokehouse & Ice Cream Parlor of Oregon, Steve’s Deli Dog House of Janesville and Kona Ice of Madison.

McCartney said the winner of this year’s competition will be able to choose next year’s food to grill and which charity the proceeds will go toward. Last year’s top griller chose the Brooklyn Elementary PTO playground fund as the charity to benefit.

McCartney said four judges will evaluate the 12 grilling competitors on the aroma, appearance, texture, taste and creativity of their poultry, starting at 3 p.m.

“(The event) is really growing,” McCartney said.

For more information, email McCartney at or call 212-1653.

Email Emilie Heidemann at or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.