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Casey Christie/ The Californian

Jo Griffith was among a throng of Clifford and Bradford Insurance volunteers serving up the eats at the Bakersfield College Barbecue at Stramler Park in 2010.

In 1954, when the first Bakersfield College Alumni Association's barbecue was held, no women were allowed at the event, with attendance restricted to men and members of the BC football team.

You've come a long way, baby, and there's no better time to remember that than on the occasion of BC's centennial, an occasion for reflection and looking back for the entire community.

"BC is so much a part of the community; it's touched so many different people, whether you're a child, or a student, or a parent," said Becki Whitson, president of the Alumni Association. "Almost everybody in Bakersfield has some connection to BC."

As part of the centennial festivities, the annual barbecue is serving up something beyond red meat.

More names will be revealed at the event from the list of BC's "100 Stars" -- independently nominated faculty, alumni or community supporters who have made significant contributions to the school or the surrounding community.

Already announced stars are BC president John Collins, retired athletics manager Ray Maranda, administrator Grace Van Dyke Bird, faculty member Chuck Wall, community supporter Norm Levan and alumnus Ahmed Abou Harb.

The idea is to reveal all 100 stars over the course of several events celebrating the centennial.

"That's just one of the reasons why it's important to support this," Whitson said.

But the real star of the evening is the BC football team.

For the price of a hearty serving of steak, attendees will help increase scholarship money and funds for the thousands of students who enroll in Bakersfield College each year. The barbecue serves as the Alumni Association's one and only fundraiser.

"Scholarships are what come first," Whitson said. "Things are changing and college costs are increasing. If students can get started here, at the community college level, they can get grounded and get a great education. After BC, students can go on anywhere and do well."

The Alumni Barbecue is tradition for many diehard Renegades fans, and is a fun, fulfilling (and just plain-old filling) way to celebrate the return of football and other fall athletics. While guests feast on grilled chicken or steak, beans, rolls and all the other traditional fixings, the BC cheer team and drumline perform, getting everyone pumped with that Renegade spirit.

Afterward, the members of the 2013 athletic teams are introduced. Live music will keep Renegade revelers out on the dance floor long after chef Pat Coyle and student chefs from the college's culinary arts program serve the meal.

"It's really a wonderful night," said Whitson. "It's a very family-oriented night, it's a very Bakersfield College night, and it has a kind of football, pep-rally-like atmosphere. It's a fun way to have a nice meal while you're also supporting BC."