The smell of roasting chicken overtook Long’s Park on Saturday for the Lancaster Sertoma Blessings of Hope World’s Largest Chicken BBQ.

The 67th annual event — until this year known as the Sertoma Chicken BBQ — has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest of its kind. Approximately 19,000 barbecue chicken meals were served at the daylong fundraiser. 

Gene Duncan, the BBQ chairman, said that this year has had the nicest weather since 2016, helping the turnout. 

From dogs to stormtroopers, the park was filled with fun. But behind the scenes is what makes the event run smoothly. 

Nearly 400 volunteers turn out to do their part, from the late-night, charcoal-starting groups who turn up between midnight and 3 a.m. to get the cooking started to the hundreds prepping the meals to be handed out. 

The crews use 11 cooking pits -- one for quality control -- and start the charcoal a little after midnight. 

Seventy-percent of the proceeds from the event go back to Long's Park, paying for everything from the trees to the lake maintenance. 

"Sertoma is the fairy godmother of Long's Park," said Deb Martin Berkoski, the maintenance supervision of Long's Park. 

Up until 2018, everything in Long's Park was paid for by Sertoma and the BBQ, Martin Berkoski added. 

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