PALESTINE — The Slocum community is gearing up to host one heck of a barbecue this Saturday for the 38th annual Slocum Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue and Slocum Reunion, benefitting the Slocum VFD.
Slocum VFD Fire Chief Ben Missildine, who helped organize the event, said “it's the biggest thing that happens in Slocum every year,” complete with a trail ride, parade, barbecue, kids activities, live entertainment and auction — as well as a reunion for the Slocum community.
Events kick off at 7 a.m., lasting well into the afternoon.
The trail ride is first, beginning at 7 a.m., in which Missildine said participants can just come out with their horse. Riders meet by the baseball field beside Slocum High School, located at 5765 E. State Highway 294. For details, call Jerod Mock at 903-731-0134.
Following this will be the parade and barbecue, beginning at 10 a.m. As with the trail ride, Missildine said anyone wishing to participate in the parade can “just show up” and do so, whether on a float, a 4-wheeler or foot.
“It's open to the public,” Missildine said.
Cash rewards of $100, $50 and $25 will be presented to parade participants for first, second and third place. Missildine said that three judges will be in the crowd looking for “whatever stands out.”
Last year, for instance, the winner was a woman riding a mule, wearing a flag.
The barbecue will go for $12 a plate, which includes everything the barbecue lover's heart could ever hope for. Credit cards are accepted.
Missildine said the department recruits 55 volunteers and spends the week — plus months of planning — gearing up to throw the massive meat-cooking party.
“We have these big huge pits,” Missildine said.
The department starts with the brisket, beginning as early as Thursday evening. Members of the VFD prep and light the pits, he said — “like preheating an oven.” By 4 a.m., the men rub and season the meat, and get it cooking. This goes on until about 10 p.m., when the brisket is sliced, put in warmer trays and taken across the way to Slocum High School.