Come to the 134th annual Clarksville Picnic on the grounds of St. Louis Church this Saturday.
Dates and locations have moved around a wee bit over the history of the picnic, but it's been held the last Saturday of June in "downtown Clarksville" ever since 1969.
Of course, there wasn't much of a downtown back then. The Clarksville Picnic is perhaps the oldest of its kind in the state.
Parishioners work all year long in anticipation of the big event. The pace of activity really quickens in the final weeks and days.
A big part of the picnic is the fried chicken and country ham dinner served family style from noon until the food runs out. Don't wait too long.
Sign-up coordinator Marie Denissen has been recruiting volunteers along with dinner chairman Rick Baker and dining room chairwoman Edna Ballard. It takes many hands to prepare and serve all that food.
It takes an army of workers to set up, man and take down stands along the midway.
Game stand co-chairs Tony Comberiate and Chrissie Day can attest to that as can fast food chairman Scott Sokolowski. Hilda Mathieu is in charge of "Made in Clarksville" (a.k.a. Fancy Stand). You'll find needlework, ceramics, woodwork, jewelry and other handcrafted items.
Home baked goods are always in demand at the bake stand on picnic day. Lisa White is encouraging bakers to include the recipe which will be a huge benefit for diabetics and those with food allergies.
Are you looking for something special at the picnic? Check out the silent auction. You can bid on gift certificates, tickets to sporting events, use of vacation homes, artwork, collectibles, jewelry and more. Robert Mayer has been working on getting donations for the silent auction.
Maybe you're thinking more along the lines of raffles. Check out the quilt raffle or the big $20,000 raffle. That's right. Some lucky ticket holder will pocket $20,000. Money raffle co-chairs Susan Miller and Daria McGehee run the money raffle, but many parishioners have helped by selling tickets to friends and family. Susan's quite proficient at this job. She's been doing it for years. In fact, many of the volunteers come back year after year. Whole families enjoy working together for the picnic.
Let's not overlook site director Brad Jones or parking director Frank Sarro and their teams. This is a really big picnic and they have big jobs to do.
By the way, parking is free. For those living in the vicinity of the church, it's an easy walk and walking is good for you.
Pony rides are scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m.
Entertainment runs all day long starting with Dean Turner, Dean of Magic. at 12:45 p.m. No matter what your preference in entertainment, there's a good chance you'll find it at the picnic.
There's Kimberly Praay Gospel from 1:30 to 2 p.m., a contemporary band from 2 to 4 p.m. and bluegrass music from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feel free to get up and dance. I love watching the cloggers from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Country music wraps up the evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
Helen Kozak provided a little info on the recent Western Howard County Relay for Life. Suzy Hill from Curves sponsored the survivor dinner again. Helen was there as photographer for the dinner.
She was pleased to see so many of the same survivors from last year. Helen thought the Relay seemed smaller than in previous years, but with a greater number of luminaria. We should get financial reports later.
"Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" will be shown at Great Sage on July 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. The title doesn't sound appealing, but I've seen the film and it is interesting.
Can you believe the Clarksville Square shopping center celebrated its 12th anniversary this month? You'll find a new business opened there this month, too. It's called Boulder for Men. The grand opening was June 9 and 10. Do you remember when Kendall's quonset hut hardware was just about the only place in town to shop?
The next time we meet in print, the Independence Day parade up Great Star Drive will be history. Parade participants step off to a cool 9 a.m. start from Trotter and Guilford roads and end the route at the Fifth District Fire Station.
I won't be in Clarksville that day. Be sure to email highlights of July 4 celebrations from your perspective and I'll pass them along to the rest of the community.
Have a bang-up celebration. Happy birthday, America.