In its 136th year, the Clarksville Picnic still draws the crowds

They came ready for food, fun and face painting. No one went home disappointed.

St. Louis Catholic Church on Clarksville Pike, in Clarksville, sponsored its Clarksville Picnic for the 136th year on Saturday, June 28. Sunshine and balmy weather made for a big turnout.

The picnic was first held in 1878 during the tenure of the church's second pastor, the Rev. Hugh Griffin. The earliest picnics were held in August, which was convenient for local farmer families because it was after planting but before harvest. The picnic was initially held on the church grounds.

Changes came in the post-war years as the picnic grew more popular, attracting thousands. The Rev. Myles McGowman, who came to Clarksville in 1958, changed the location to the center of Clarksville the following year and changed the day of the week for the picnic from Wednesday to Saturday.

Then, in 1969, Monsignor Anthony Sauerwein decided, in a concession to weather, to shift the date from August to the last Saturday in June.

Church officials believe it is the oldest such picnic in Maryland.

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