Somewhat of a landmark event in Portage la Prairie will not be taking place anymore. The time when the Shirley McCulloch Barbecue fundraiser, held by the Portage District General Hospital Foundation, is coming up. However, executive director Tara Pettinger says after 31 years, it's over. 

"There were a few years there where it didn't occur because of COVID, but it has had a successful run and that is thanks, in large part, to Shirley McCulloch starting this barbecue and the McCulloch family continuing to support it over several years. Her hard work and forethought in this great event that lasted 31 years has been really amazing for the Foundation."

She notes the effort's money increased each year to where they typically brought in $10,000. Pettinger says it really was quite a large event and community builder. 

"It brought a lot of people out. When I started back in 2018, we had to do a location change because of the heliport and some other things like that. So, it's had some changes over the years but it has had really great success. We're doing our Cash Calendar now in spring and summer, but it's changed due to a lot of different factors with the way things are operating at the hospital. We relied heavily on staff support to help prep for the barbecue and things like that. Some things just don't quite logistically work anymore. We had to make this really tough decision."

Pettinger adds they're sad to see that its end and know that many people in the community have come for many years and will likewise be sad that it's over.

"We'll kind of just see where the future takes us now. And, obviously, we have the new facility going up, perhaps on those grounds. We'll be able to bring the community together for an event. We will just see where that takes us."