Williston Regional Economic Development (WRED) is preparing for its 9th Connecting Communities BBQ in three years. The BBQ’s were introduced in the summer of 2016 to express Williston’s appreciation for the business it receives from neighboring communities. “The purpose of the BBQ is to say thank you from WRED. Our goal is to reach out to these communities and provide them a nice lunch and do all the work, so they and just come over and eat a nice meal,” said Ken Callahan, WRED board member. The BBQ’s have been held in Ray, Alexander, Watford City, Crosby, Sidney, Mont., Tioga, Stanley and Glasgow, Mont. The final BBQ of 2018 will be held August 21 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Sharbono Park in Fairview. There is no cost for the luncheon. “Everyone loves a BBQ, and we want to provide them a nice meal just to say thank you for being our good neighbor,” said Callahan, who handles the grilling and food prep for the BBQ’s. The luncheons are co-sponsored by Cherry Creek Radio, Williston Area Chamber of Commerce, CHI St. Alexius Health Williston, Williston State College and Montana Dakota Utilities. Each organization brings something special to the BBQ; from information about WSC’s scholarship program to live radio broadcasts. While people often come for the BBQ’s free meal, they are most appreciative of the opportunity to reconnect with friends and neighbors. “The one thing that I’ve noticed as much as anything is the time that those folks spend with their neighbors. Just like anyplace and anybody, we all have stuff that keeps us busy,” said Brad Curtis, WRED board member. “During our BBQ events people come together and enjoy the meal provided, but the real benefit that I notice is the time they actually get to sit at the table and simply catch up with each other. They may be there for the free meal, but they walk away with much more than a full stomach.” The WRED meets monthly on the third Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Center for Development. If you or your business would like to become a member contact Ann Kvande at firstname.lastname@example.org or 701-577-8110.