Bring your red-and-white checkered blanket to Traverse City for the annual NMC BBQ. The old-fashioned picnic brings thousands of people together for buffalo burgers, potato salad, ice cream, free activities and lots of family fun. The 64th annual barbecue is Sunday, May 19 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. on the Front Street campus “under the pine trees.” Advance tickets are $7.25 and include the picnic lunch and many events and activities. Ticket sales help support learning at the college through projects like these.

Get your tickets online at and skip the line!

NMC BBQ Activities

Picnic Lunch
  • Buffalo burger or hot dog, beans, potato salad, coleslaw, relishes, ice cream and beverages—all generously donated by Oleson’s Food Stores
  • Again this year: Compostable plates, cups and forks and composting of food waste
  • Serving lines open at 11 a.m. after the opening ceremony
Activities & Games
  • Free activities: Inflatable obstacle courses, Traverse City Fire Department antique fire engine rides, Chip (the faux buffalo)
  • Children’s book readings at the Osterlin Library: Readings will take place every hour from 12:30–3:30 p.m., with a visit from the National Cherry Queen at 2:30 p.m.
  • Classroom and program displays
  • Kid’s games: hair painting, skee-roll, frog launcher, Wheel of Fortune and more! Ticket purchase required
  • Cakewalk, and a cupcake walk for kids, on the half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One lucky winner will receive a full-size cake, while all other participants will receive a cupcake. Ticket purchase required
  • Popcorn and cotton candy tent. Ticket purchase required
More fun not to miss …
  • Live music in front of Scholars Hall
  • Alumni tent: Alumni are invited to connect with the NMC Alumni Relations Program and update your contact info for a chance to win a prize!
  • Del Corner Veterans Tent
  • NMC Barbecue Invitational Car Show
  • NMC Martial Arts Clubs Demonstrations
  • Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society display in the Biederman Building

Photo(s) by NMC