Standing room only at Cutchogue FD barbecue

It’s never happened before in the 55-year history of the Cutchogue Fire Department chicken barbecue, a Southold summer season staple, but with Hurricane Irene bearing down the department took down its bigtop tent and offered its specialty for take-out only.

With a light drizzle falling Saturday afternoon, the line snaked around the side of the firehouse, through a parking lot out to Main Road.

But no one was complaining.

“It’s not bad,” said Cy Lukeman of Orient. “I’ve been coming to this since the 1970s and this isn’t enough to stop that.”

It helped that department volunteers came by every now and again with a choice of beverages, this year in cans.

Determined to get the event in come hail or high water, the department moved the time up two hours, from the usual 4 to 8 p.m. to 2 to 6. That was to give volunteers time to get the huge tent down as soon as the last chicken bone hit the trash. But taking no chances, they took the tent down Friday night.

“We’ve done this before through thunder and lightening but never without sitdown service,” department member Tim Horton said as a steady stream of people came out of the firehouse with bags containing a half-chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob and ice cream with peaches. “Seems to be working, though.”

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