QUINCY -- Tony Roberts has been going to the Knights of Columbus Barbecue as long as he can remember.
On Friday night, Roberts brought his 2-month-old son, Zayne, to his first barbecue. Roberts' 12-year-old son, Logyn, also has been going his entire life.
"I've been coming out here my entire life," Roberts said. "That's why I wanted to bring him out here."
The Roberts family is one of many in Quincy who have used the K of C Barbecue to craft a family tradition, an annual reunion that brings them together with close friends and marks the end of summer.
"This is one of the biggest things in Quincy," Roberts said. "I come out here and run into people I haven't seen since high school. It's just a good place to hang out."
The K of C Barbecue began in 1927 and had a 23-year run before it ceased in 1950. The event was revived in 1962 and has continued annually.
"This is the last hurrah for most people," said Bill Anderson, who joined Knights of Columbus in 1975 and was barbecue chairman in 1980 and 1981. "People come here to see old friends that they might not have seen since last year."
Anderson remembers when it was common for four or five cars to be given away at the barbecue. Anderson helped improve the event's games by traveling to other fairs and festivals to re-create their most successful games.
"This is the biggest carnival in the tri-state area. We just added new rides this year," Anderson said, "but it's really about the food. The barbecue beef is second to none."
Setup for the barbecue takes a week, and several hundred of the 900 active Knights of Columbus members volunteer their time over the four days it runs.
"Seventy-five percent of the people working in the stands are here because their moms, dads, aunts or uncles were involved," Anderson said. "It's a nice tradition for the Knights of Columbus and for Quincy families."
Several hundred pounds of buffalo, catfish, beef, french fries and onion rings are consumed over the weekend. The money raised is donated to area schools and churches.
"Everything we make goes back to the community in one way or another," said Knights of Columbus officer John Benz. "The volunteers have fun doing it. It's really a big family reunion."
Among the organizations supported by the barbecue is Birthright of Quincy, which supplied 140 volunteers to oversee the children's games this year. Birthright hosts a bake sale, and the event is one of only two annual fundraisers that sustain the organization through the year.
"It's an honor to be able to come out here," said Birthright of Quincy President Patty Adam. "It brings family and friends together and brings a fun atmosphere. I love every minute of it."