MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA --
The smell of freshly barbecued chicken and pork filled the air as nearly 500 chicken halves and two whole pigs spanned 10 oversized grills during the bi-annual Chicken Pickin’ event here, May 6.
Cooks from the local Havelock and New Bern communities faced-off in the 2015 Spring Chicken Pickin’ cooking competition, hosted by the New Bern Military Alliance through the New Bern Chamber of Commerce, to reach out to the single Marines and Sailors at Cherry Point.
The NBMA’s goal is to foster a relationship between surrounding communities and the Marines and Sailors of Cherry Point and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing through events like the Chicken Pickin’.
“Each year we come out to show appreciation to the single Marines and Sailors who live in the barracks,” said Kevin Roberts, the director of the New Bern Chamber of Commerce.
In its tenth year, the event brought food, drinks, music and games for the service members to enjoy.
Local business owners and community members put their skills to the test as they created their own unique twist on barbecue chicken during the event.
According to Cpl. Robert Gonzales, a computer specialist with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28, the smell of food in the air and a chance to build bonds between junior enlisted Marines and Sailors is what enticed the service members to attend.
“I really enjoy these events because it brings everyone together,” said Gonzales. “It’s cool because you come out and there is food and music, then you find your friends and eat together, spend time outside and enjoy the day.”
According to Gonzales, events like the Chicken Pickin’ help foster good relationships between Cherry Point and the community and, as a bonus, they help build camaraderie amongst Marines and Sailors.
“I hope they continue to host events like this,” said Gonzales. “It encourages Marines to get out of the barracks, meet new people and just have a good time.”