Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press
Times Photos by Jonathan Whitaker

Hundreds gather for 30th annual Bill Kirby Western BBQ at lake


More than 250 people gathered to enjoy great BBQ cuisine and an incredible sunset at Lake Yosemite on Tuesday night during the 30th annual Bill Kirby Western Barbecue.

The event is hosted every year by the Merced County Historical Society and it serves as a fundraiser to benefit the Courthouse Museum in downtown Merced, and related programs and scholarships.

Both live and silent auctions featured fabulous dinners, vacation getaways, antique items, gourmet food, and artwork.

A highlight of the night happened when the Historical Society presented its annual Heacox Pioneer History Award to the Merced County Times and its Publisher John Derby. The award honors those who have “greatly contributed to the preservation of, interest in, or sharing of the history of Merced County.” It’s given in memory of the descendants of the pioneer family of Joseph Martin Heacox and Margaret Collins Heacox.

Derby thanked the Historical Society for recognition and noted his appreciation for all the good work Society members do for the community. The award is usually presented during the Society’s annual meeting earlier in the year, but that event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Derby and Historical Society President Julie Marchini were also celebrating their birthdays that night, and the two received cakes and a celebratory song that was performed by all those present.

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