Prairie Days

At right, Line Critchfield, executive director of the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce, promotes Yelm’s very first Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally that will occur on July 6 at Yelm City Park.

The first Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally, a Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce event, is set to provide delicious barbecue meals to all of Yelm from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 6 at Yelm City Park.

Line Critchfield, executive director for the chamber, said the barbecue rally will be a fun-filled day of food, music, friendly competition and community spirit.

“This will be a good old-fashioned barbecue event, with a strong emphasis on community,” she said in a previous email to the Nisqually Valley News. “We will have many classic features like food, entertainment, local businesses and of course the barbecue competition. Our vision is to create an event that all of our local communities can rally behind.”

Critchfield said that Yelm is the perfect setting for a barbeque rally, and that with its small-town feel and fun-loving residents, the community is sure to embrace this event.

Part of the day will be devoted to an “Amateur Andy/Andie barbecuing contest,” and it’s not too late to sign up. Aside from this amateur contest, there will also be professional vendors on site.

“We still have room for one or two Amateur Andy Competitors,” Critchfield said. “Besides that, we would love for people to show up and celebrate with us.”

This year, there will be a “gorgeous smoker” as the grand prize for the competition, Critchfield said, adding that there will be additional prizes, trophies and bragging rights up for grabs.

Those not involved in the competition shouldn’t worry because the event is designed for people to have fun as a community, with togetherness and good food. 

At the event, the barbecue, sides and desserts will be available for purchase and there will be a beer garden open all day. There will also be an assortment of vendors to peruse.

In addition, Dan Nicholson, president elect of the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce, said that he can’t think of a reason not to bring an event like this to Yelm.

“This event is everything Yelm has been waiting for; a day filled with delicious food, a friendly competition for who makes the best BBQ for those backyard barbecuers who entered the Amateur Andy competition, a beer garden, live bands, the ACU Pie Eating Contest, kids activities and opportunities to see, shop and visit with some local businesses,” Nicholson said in an email to the Nisqually Valley News.

He said that everything is set for the community to enjoy this event, except for one thing: the community’s attendance. 

“Attend,” he said. “We have an amazing committee that worked so hard to make this event happen. What we would love is to have people come and enjoy the day we created just for them.”

Those who want to be involved may reach out to the chamber office at 360-458-6608 or email 

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