BBQ Event Team

Oakridge Optimists Can Manage Your Event!

BBQ Team and Special Event Bookings

The Optimist Club of Oakridge Acres has been dedicated to community service since its inception in 1957. In 2009, the Club enhanced its capabilities by creating a Special Events Team to deliver service to the community with bartending and barbeque services by members trained with Smart Serve and Safe Food Handling courses. All members of the club are invited to participate in the events, however each event must have some trained members in attendance. The Club purchased a 27-foot barbecue from the Kirkton-Woodham Optimist Club. The barbecue was built from a school bus frame and constructed with three large grilling sections that each hold charcoal. Numerous improvements were made to the barbeque by students in the welding class at Clarke Road Secondary School.

The team operates in two ways; a for-profit system for such events as weddings, company picnics, and political rallies. The largest of these events was for 1,200 people, however the average attendance is about 250 people. This business stream funds the operation of the team and pays for expenses for the second system - community service, that supports other community-based organizations, such as local Home & School Associations. The Club will provide the use of the barbeque, charcoal, and volunteers to cook the food, at no cost. The majority of events performed by the team fall within this category and each event costs the Club approximately $100.00. These events range from several hundred students at a school fundraiser to the Oakridge Optimist Community Day events that have seen the attendance of several thousand people.

For pricing and team rental details please contact us at

2020 BBq action

We had plans to operate 5 BBQ events but they were all cancelled due to COVID restrictions.

2019 BBQ Action

May 25 - NorWest Bike Rodeo community event at Sir Arthur Currie School

June 13 - Community night at West oaks school

June 19 - Community night at University Heights Public School

June 20 - Community night at Notre Dame School

September 13 - Jesse's Journey Fundraiser at St. Aiden's Church

September 26 - BBQ and Corn Roast at Riverside Public School

October 18 - BBQ for Friday Night Football at Catholic Central High School

2018 BBQ Action

The team has begun its activities with an upgrade and repair visit to our good friend Pete Clubb at Clarke Road Secondary School. We have also purchased new heat resistant aprons that will protect members standing in front of the hot bbq unit for extended periods of time. We currently have scheduled two school functions in June and we are working on bartending and bbq duties at a wedding on the Labour Day weekend.

Members of the Special Events Team volunteered for a community barbeque on September 27th for the Riverside Public School Home & School Association's annual get-together for the teachers, parents, and students. Special thanks to volunteer Optimists Doug Mackay, Mike Miletich, Mike Hoy, Don Lucas, Judie Lucas, and Kevin Heslop. We cooked about 1000 pieces of meat for a crowd of about 500. This was a community donation event in that we donated the barbecue, charcoal, and volunteers, then we cooked their food. Another great event by that Association.

On September 20th the BBQ was set up on Green Lane to help celebrate the (almost) end of road construction in that area and it was a tremendous success. We had in excess of 150 people attending including neighbours and the construction crew. The Optimist barbeque was certainly the focal point and contributed to the overall success of this venture. Staffing the barbecue were Optimists Stephen Strutt, Bill Adams, Gary Shawyer, Norm Smith and Jim Easton.

One pleasant surprise was that J-AAR, the construction company doing the work, came through with a $500 donation towards the party. We had asked for donations from those attending to help defray costs and even after we indicated that J-AAR was covering the majority of the cost of running the event, people were quite generous. We had stated that any monies raised above expenses would be donated to the London Food Bank and that amount will likely be around $800.

On September 1, 2018, a number of our members worked a barbeque and bar for a wedding that occurred at Willow Creek near Ailsa Craig. Special thanks to Optimists Rick Gillespie, Doug Mackay, Ruth Harland, Brian Gibbons, Kevin Levesque, Randy Brewe, and Kevin Heslop. We barbecued food and served drinks to about 90 people and had wonderful feedback. We also had a tip jar that received Some healthy tips towards Optimist programs.

On June 20, 2018 the Special Events Team barbecued for the University Heights Public School fun day on Ford Crescent. This was a community donation event in that we donated the barbecue, charcoal, volunteers, and barbecued the food for them. Between 300 and 400 people attended the event and the following volunteers made it all possible: Optimists Bruce Pope, Mike Hoy, Brad Heslop and Kevin Heslop.

We provided BBQ services to Notre Dame Elementary School to support their end of year celebration on June 14th, 2018. We cooked 330 pieces of food for approximately 300 people. The following members were involved in this event, Rick Gillespie-missing in photo, Al McGrath, Norm Smith, Brian Gibson and Mike Miletich.

On June 7, 2018 five members of our club barbequed for the annual Fun Fair at St. Paul Catholic Elementary School at 1090 Guildwood Blvd. This was a community event in that we donated the barbecue, charcoal, and volunteer time. We fed about 300 people and had a great afternoon. Special thanks to volunteers Jim Easton, Joe O’Neill, Doug Mackay, Norm Smith, and Kevin Heslop.

2017 BBQ action

We donated the barbeque and cooked over 900 meat items for the Riverside Public School annual barbecue on September 21st. This is an annual event to bring parents, teachers, and students together at the beginning of the school year. Thanks to the following members for coming out: Kevin Levesque, Joe O'Neill, Dave Butt, Norm Smith, Mike Miletich, Eric Riley and Gary Shawyer

On July 9th the team cooked for over 500 people at the Mayor's Welcome to Refugees Picnic. Thanks to Optimists Kevin, Stephen S., Rick, Jay and Gary D. for volunteering.

Today (May 3rd) our members ran a barbeque at John Dearness Public School at Sanitorium and Riverside, to celebrate their cultural arts festival. We had a total of six volunteers out: Dave Butt, Rick Gillespie, Stewart Blair, Mike Blencowe, Darryl Danek, and Kevin Heslop. We barbecued hotdogs and hamburgers for 300 students and teachers. This was a donation from our Club in that we provided the barbecue, charcoal, and volunteers.

2013 bbq action

Our 2013 summer BBQ season really started in September 2012 when Mr. (Pete) Club's welding class at Clarke Road Secondary School completed a make over of our BBQ. Here is a list of the modifications:

  • Everything above the BBQ grill was removed and a new frame installed

  • New red corrugated metal roof fabricated and installed

  • White metal tubing spelling "Oakridge Optimist BBQ Team", with red background, installed on both sides

  • Tool box installed below the BBQ in front of the left rear tire, for holding trailer lights, gloves, utensils, etc.

  • New tongue with a proper hitch and new safety chains installed

  • New front support wheel welded in place

  • Modified rear box with a hinged trap door for holding hot coals installed

  • Grill supports that will hold the grill lids open installed

  • New plates on the two front support arms, with more holes drilled in the posts installed

Clark road Secondary school - welding class bbq

On June 18th the BBQ committee cooked hot dogs and hamburgs for about 60 students and staff of the welding program at Clarke Road Secondary School. This complimentary lunch was our way of saying thank you to the people that rebuilt our BBQ in September. They were all very impressed to see the unit in operation and thankful for the lunch. Thanks to welding teacher Pete Club and his students for a job well done. Pictured below are many of the students on the far side of the BBQ, Optimist Jim Easton talking with teacher Mr. Pete Club and Optimists Darryl Danek and Rick Gillespie working hard opposite them. Thanks to the last volunteer, Optimist Gary Dennerley who doubled as the team photographer.