Grills and grilles: Family Fun Festival comes to Western Gateway Park, supports United Way of Nevada County |

Grills and grilles: Family Fun Festival comes to Western Gateway Park, supports United Way of Nevada County

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector


WHAT: Grills and Grilles

WHO: United Way of Nevada County

WHEN: Saturday Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Western Gateway Park, Penn Valley

HOW: Admission is free. To enter barbeque, car show or disc golf tournament go to: or call 530-274-8111

Enjoy a full day of family fun at Western Gateway Park Saturday Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and help United Way of Nevada County fund projects for residents. Grills and Grilles began a dozen years ago as a “battle of the sexes” barbeque event that has evolved into a full day of things to do see and eat including a competitive barbeque, a disc golf tournament and a car show, complete with a kids area and live music.

United Way used to have two separate events — a barbeque competition in Grass Valley and a foreign car show in Nevada City — but after outgrowing the venue that hosted the grilling competition, they decided to combine the two fundraisers and then added a disc golf tournament. Executive Director Megan Timpany said “We ended up bringing it to Western Gateway Park. We have combined the two and we had to, and it has grown from there to include a memorial disc golf tournament as well.“ She added, “We have a really special volunteer, Debbie Evans, who lost her son who was a big disc golfer about five years ago. She wanted to do some kind of memorial for him and she came to us saying she’d like to do the tournament and support United Way and include it with the Western Gateway Park event because there is a beautiful course there. We’ve done it now for five years with them.”

The combination of events has evolved into a one-day festival. Admission is free but tasting tickets are sold to raise funds. Timpany said this year there will be about a dozen backyard barbeque teams involved in the competition for two awards: Critic’s Choice and People’s Choice. Grillers will present a variety of meats for attendees to weigh in on, but they will each enter ribs for the judges to critique. Timpany said there are three areas the judges are considering, “They bring their sample to our cottage and we have judges that will taste. They are looking for taste, texture and appearance.” The top vote getters will receive bragging rights and prizes.

Anyone interested in competing should contact United Way of Nevada County at 530-274-8111 or before Monday.

Attendees buy tasting tickets that come with a voting slip. Timpany said two tastes and a beverage is just $5.

“Generally, people will buy at least two packets and get four tastes and a couple of drinks.” Beer, wine and sides will also be for sale. And, for those who may not care for barbeque, there will be food vendors selling pizza, tacos, and ice cream.

Anyone who wants to show off their vehicle can enter the car show as it is open to any vehicle or motorcycle, regardless of make, model or year. There will also be a section featuring electric cars. Timpany added, “Northern California Electric Car Club will be coming to the Auburn, Roseville and Sacramento area.”

Many of United Way’s partner agencies help make the day complete. For example, the Food Bank is overseeing the kid’s area which features a bounce house, face painting, and balloon animals along with a robots demonstration to encourage kids to get involved with robotics. Timpany said, “It’s going to be a fun area.”

Live music will be provided by “dirty blues band” Grease, Grit and Grime. The band formed in October of 2007 and is made up of Chad Conner Crow on percussion/vocals, Seth Miner/Bob Woods on guitar/vocals, Scott “Phil Harmonica” Hickman on harmonica/vocals, Jeremy Hayes Burris on bass and Reid Kurks on drums. The band is self-described as “schooled in Mississippi Delta and Chicago blues. The band’s set is comprised of originals and standards from Chicago, Delta and Swamp Blues greats, all done in their own unique way.” They will play live beginning at noon.

The fundraiser is important to help finance projects United Way of Nevada County is committed to, including Food Access Saturday and Community Impact. Timpany said, “United Way is currently focusing on three specific areas that we really feel are the important areas in the community that we can make an impact. Those three areas are food, emergency shelter and access to healthcare. With that any funds that are raised go into our Impact Fund and the money goes to one of those areas, for instance Food Access Saturday.”

Timpany explained this program allows people who are working full-time who may not be able to get to the foodbanks during the week to get some help with food. “It has been set up for folks who are working individuals who are struggling to get by. We are talking about people who are working but can’t make their rent. We realized there was a gap in the community for that, so we started Food Access Saturday.”

United Way of Nevada County is also working to raise funds to support a health clinic in January that will provide free dental and vision exams. Timpany said, “That clinic will be open to anybody but again our focus is on that population that is struggling to get by, who often don’t have coverage in those two areas. We are hoping to have about 60 dental chairs, and we will have a whole vision area for people to get their eyes checked and we will be making glasses there.” Look for more information about the clinic happening in January at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on the United Way website.

Timpany said United Way of Nevada County has changed its focus to concentrate on three core areas and to support organizations that are doing the same.

Timpany concluded, “All of the proceeds come back to the community. Come and bring your family and enjoy a day at the park.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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