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Beef on a Bun is back in Squamish

The Rotary Club of Squamish sandwich on offer at the 2021 Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival, Sept. 18.

The beef — slow roasted over an alder fire — the fried onions, the crunchy bun: the Rotary Club of Squamish Beef on a Bun is back at the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival on Sept. 18.

Like the festival itself, which is celebrating its 64th year, the local's favourite comfort food was not on offer last year for the first time in its history due to pandemic restrictions.

"We consider it an event to show support for our local events, and that Rotary is part of the Squamish community," said the club’s Brian Finley.

When the festival committee members determined earlier this summer that with pandemic restrictions lifting, a postponed, scaled-back festival could be pulled off, they reached out to Squamish Rotary to see if the club could pull together the Beef on a Bun.

They could.

This year, with the event one day rather than over a weekend, there won't be as many of the sandwiches available.

Volunteers will prepare 1,100 sandwiches as opposed to the usual 3,000 — and they have to be pre-ordered.

In anticipation, approximately 272 kilograms (600 pounds) of outside round, aged Canadian beef, more than 1,100 brioche buns, 45 kgs (100 pounds) of onions and eight litres of horseradish have been ordered from Squamish’s Save on Foods.

Rotary volunteers — 30 over the course of the day — will start at 5:30 a.m. on the day of the festival.

The first order of business is to get the fire lit and the beef slow roasting.

"Then it is all hands on deck once the beef is cooked to slice it and prepare the sandwiches," said Finley.

Gates to the festival open at noon and the show starts at 1:30 p.m.

Folks will be lining up for their pre-ordered sandwiches between opening and the show, Finley said.

Already, sales have been brisk, Finley said.

Having the festival in September, rather than in the usual early August, there are some unknowns, such as how the weather will be.

Finley has been involved in the festival since 2008 and it has never rained, he said, adding hopefully that stays true for this year as well.

Finley said while a bit of money is made for the club, Beef on a Bun is not a significant fundraiser: it is more about being a part of what makes Squamish a community.

"The thing I like about it... [is that] it is a community service project," he said.

The club was founded in 1966 and has been hosting the barbecue at Squamish Days Loggers Sports ever since.

"Prior to that, [the late] John Drenka used to barbecue chickens," said Finley.

"Even going back to when the Loggers' Sports grounds were behind the high school, John Drenka and that group were doing barbecues. When Rotary Club [of Squamish] was founded, John was a founding member, and we just picked it up and have been doing it ever since."

To order a Beef on a Bun, go to the festival's site.

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