LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Civitas Lancaster announced on Friday, March 3 that it will be discontinuing its Annual Chicken BBQ after almost 70 years.

According to Civitas Lancaster, once hailed as the World’s Largest Chicken Barbecue, increasing costs, decreasing demand, and a lack of volunteers have all played a role in the organization suspending the event for 2023, and for the foreseeable future.

“This was a very difficult decision for us to make because so many people have been a part of this event for decades. But it no longer makes financial sense for us to expend the effort it takes to run this huge undertaking for the small return, we are now generating,” organization president Nicki Nafziger said.

Nafziger also stated that increased food costs and key sponsors dropping out have also led to a significant effect on the net amount of funds raised.

“We would like to thank everyone who ever donated to, volunteered for, or sponsored our event. It holds the record for the world’s largest one-day chicken barbecue and we’re very proud of that. And, of course, thanks to everyone who ever bought one of the thousands of dinners we made each year.”

Civitas Lancaster has stated they are financially sound and will continue to accept grant applications for funding requests. They will also be continuing support of Long’s Park through club-managed resources.

The barbecue was originally organized by the Sertoma Club of Lancaster in 1953. There have been 69 chicken barbecues since then, with it not being held in 2020 due to the pandemic.