The Annual BarBQ Homecoming will be held on Friday, July 23 in downtown Dawson Springs. For 73 years, the “BarBQ,” as referred to by Dawsonians, has been held on the fourth Friday in July as a fundraiser for the Dawson Springs Community Center.

The community center “is operated solely on the revenue from the annual BarBQ and rental fees throughout the year,” said Jennifer Hall, one of the center’s board members.

Each year, the community center’s Board members assemble to plan the events of that fourth Friday in July — lunch, dinner, and the street fair. A group of volunteers, gathered by fellow board member Lindsey Morgan, worked together earlier this week to make the sauce.

Because everyone knows that without the sauce, the BarBQ Homecoming would be impossible to host.

“We made four batches,” Morgan said. “Each batch of sauce yields 25 gallons, so we have 100 gallons to bottle.”

Morgan will call on that same group of volunteers to bottle and label the sauce.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its social distancing protocols drastically changed the format of 2020’s festivities, but those attending can expect things to return to as normal as possible in 2021, with one of 2020’s additions.

“This year we will offer lunch and dinner inside the Community Center, but will also offer drive-thru service outside of the Community Center,” said Hall. “This was very well received last year so we are bringing it back.”

The tables used at the community center for all events throughout the year have seen better days, so Hall is making a plea on the Board’s behalf.

“Over the last few years, the tables have fallen into disrepair and we would like to replace these before the BarBQ next month if possible,” Hall said.

If you are interested in making a donation towards the purchase of new rectangle and round tables, you may e-mail Hall at or text her at (270)836-3128.

On the big day, lunch and dinner will be served at the community center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many volunteers are needed at the center early that morning in order to pull the meat from the bone and shred it to prepare for sales by sandwich and by the pound, so be watching the event’s page on social media at for that call to service.

The street fair will be held that evening from 6 to 9 p.m. in the town square. As in tradition, the street fair features games, giveaways, barbeque sold by the sandwich, and an assortment of vendors. There will also be live music by the Instant Zeal Band.

At the conclusion of the street fair, the winners of the raffle will be drawn. Each year, the raffle has the potential of bringing in the most funds for the community center thanks to the generous donations of prizes by local businesses. The grand prize of $500 cash is sponsored this year by the Hopkins County Tourist & Convention Commission.

Local merchants willing to donate prizes (merchandise or cash) may contact directors Kathy Nichols at 270-836-3959, Darla Adams at 270-841-7299, or Dusty Vinson at 270-339-0156. To be eligible to win prizes, raffle tickets may be purchased on July 23 during lunch, dinner, or the street fair.

There are always other special events such as class and family reunions held over the course of the weekend following the BarBQ Homecoming. Fundraisers sponsored by the community center and already announced for Sat. July 24 are the Dawson Springs BBQ 5K, Golf Scramble, and a Barbeque Festival Car Show.

The Dawson Springs BBQ 5K is organized each year by Donnie Dunbar.

“This is a scenic run through historic Dawson Springs with the best 5K shirt in west Kentucky,” said Dunbar.

The race has a start time of 8 a.m. at the community center. For more information or to register, you may contact Dunbar at 270-836-3466, or follow the 5K’s sporting event page on Facebook.

The deadline to sign up for the golf scramble is Friday, July 16. The golf tournament begins at 8 a.m. at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park.

There are cash prizes for the three- or four-person scramble, which is “luck of the draw.” The entry fee is $60 per person. Those interested in signing up may call Adams or Pennyrile’s golf course at 270-797-7888.

David Thorp, organizer of the monthly Dawson Springs Cars & Coffee show, has been charged with organizing the festival’s Car Show, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the town square with winners receiving a People’s Choice and Mayor’s Choice award.

For more information on the events surrounding the 73rd Annual Dawson Springs BarBQ, you may call Adams at 270- 841-7299.