Planning a Memorial BBQ or Feast

An excellent way to honour the memory of your loved one is to plan a memorial BBQ in the summer or an indoor feast during colder months.

You may also wish to plan the event as an annual event on the day you lost your loved one.

An annual memorial fishing derby could be another idea if you live in a community that enjoys ice fishing or sport fishing. Another excellent idea would be to have a wiener and marshmallow roast with a campfire.

An alternative to having a Memorial BBQ could be holding a Memorial Feast. Much of the planning would be the same; you would have to create a different menu. An excellent cost-saving idea would be to ask your family and friends to make dishes and bring them to the feast potluck style. An added touch would be to include some traditional foods. You can also make some of your loved one’s favourite foods in their honour.

Remembering is an act of resurrection, each repetition a vital layer of mourning, in memory of those we are sure to meet again.

~ Nancy Cobb

Planning a Memorial BBQ:

If you do not have a BBQ, borrow one from a friend or family member. If you are planning a larger event, you may need two or three.

Ensure that you have the following items available:

Grill Checklist:

  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Grill fork
  • Grill gloves or oven mitts
  • Apron
  • Propane or charcoal
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Tea Towels
  • Paper towel
  • Aluminum or metal trays

Food items:

  • Hamburger patties
  • Hot dogs
  • Smokies
  • Hamburger buns
  • Hot dog buns
  • Potato salad
  • Macaroni salad
  • Green salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Desserts

*Ask family and friends to make salads or desserts and bring them to cut costs and save you some time. Also, if you expect many people, serving hotdogs or smokies is cheaper than hamburgers.

Other food ideas:

  • Watermelon, berries, and other summer fruits
  • Cut raw veggies and ranch dip or dressing
  • Potato chips
  • Dinner Rolls or baked or fried Bannock

Beverage Checklist:

  • Coffee & Tea
  • Milk and/or Cream
  • Sugar, and artificial sweetener
  • Lemonade
  • Fruit Punch or juice
  • Pop (include diet or sugar-free options)
  • Water
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Plastic Cups
  • Cooler
  • Ice

Condiments & Toppings:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Mayo
  • Hot Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced onions
  • Pickles

Table setting checklist:

*An environmentally friendly option would be to ask people to bring feast bundles of reusable bowls, cups, plates, and cutlery.

  • Plates and bowls
  • Forks, spoons, and knives
  • Serving spoons
  • Cups (for cold and hot drinks)
  • Napkins
  • Table cloths
  • Cutting board & knife

Other important items:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Garbage bags
  • Lawn chairs or fold-up chairs
  • Picnic tables
  • A table for a framed memorial photograph, candles, and other similar items
  • Tobacco and a gift/honourarium for the Elder to say opening and closing prayers, bless the food, and provide cultural support for the event

Ideas for activities:

  • Races for kids and adults (various types, running, potato sack races, backward, three-legged races, etc.)
  • Jigging or square-dancing competitions or demonstrations
  • Have a Pow wow demonstration (even if you can only invite a few dancers and use pre-recorded Pow wow music)
  • Have a cribbage tournament for adults
  • A scavenger hunt for kids
  • Karaoke competition

Sample agenda:

  1. Begin with an opening prayer
  2. You may offer a smudge for those who practice Native spirituality
  3. Have a family member or friend say a few words about your loved one
  4. You can have a moment of silence if you wish
  5. You may wish to have a few fun activities
  6. Have an Elder say a prayer to bless the food
  7. Announce cultural protocols and housekeeping items (Elders eat first, followed by honoured guests; remind guests to keep the area clean, tell people where they can dispose of their garbage, etc.)
  8. Have the BBQ or feast
  9. Have some more fun activities
  10. Closing prayer/thank everyone for coming