A day at the picnic actually starts the day before the picnic. Anyone who is in town will descend on the Bingo Stand at 7 o'clock Friday morning as Mass is celebrated before we start anything else. It is held at the Bingo Stand because it is in prayer and thanksgiving for what is getting ready to happen over the next few days. Many people look forward to this tradition. After Mass we head down the hill to the bbq pits to be there for the meat to be blessed before it goes on the pits. And then it begins. Folks will hang around to watch the meat put on the pits. Then they will be off to do the work that they have to get done. Most of the preliminary work is done up at the KC Hall. The Country Store is set up, just waiting for last-minute treasures that the community will bring in. The stands still need to be finished. Drinks are being delivered, ready to be iced down for the next day.
At 5 o'clock the crowds begin to come in to register for the St. Jerome One Mile Classic across from the Church and the Fancy Farm Fun Run 5K is getting ready to start registering those who haven't pre-registered. There is a fish fry starting up at the KC Hall where you can eat all of the catfish and trimmings that your heart desires. At 6 o'clock the One Mile begins and is over a few minutes later. That race is designed for the slow mover. Most of the runners are children. But their parents or grandparents usually run/walk along with them. The 5K is pretty challenging as a big part of it is going downhill and then back up that hill. It doesn't look too hard going down but going back up is harder than it looks. After the races are over everyone congregates up on the Picnic grounds to visit with people they haven't seen all year. Up there they can buy souvenirs, have hamburgers and hotdogs, play pull tab bingo and play some bingo while they're visiting. There's a band too so if they choose to get out and dance awhile they can.
The Picnic doesn't start until 10 o'clock on Saturday morning but there is a lot of work that needs to be done before then. The crew has been up all night bbq'ing the meat. The folks that work in the meat stand get there about 6 o'clock in the morning although the bbq doesn't go on sale by the pound until 8 o'clock. The crew that is cooking the meal is up in the KC kitchen putting the vegetables on the stove. The crew that is going to fry chicken is getting everything set up. So, a lot of last minute preparations are going on. If you get to the picnic by 10 o'clock then you are already late. The Country Store is open already. They have some fresh-baked goodies waiting for you along with a lot of craft items. But 10 o'clock is when all of the stands open. The first game of Bingo is being called. The Capital Prize booth is open, selling chances on a brand new vehicle. You can play the different games while you are waiting on the dining room to open at 11AM. Dinner is served continuously from 11AM to 7PM. After you eat dinner you can walk around, maybe go up to the St. Jerome 1909 School and Museum which has been renovated and restored to where it was in 1909. But you might want to head back over to the Speaker's Stand to find a good spot to listen to the political speaking. The political speaking starts at 2PM and goes until almost 5PM. After the political speaking you can go back and play some more Bingo and have a bbq pork or mutton sandwich. If you haven't gotten you bbq to take home you may be out of luck. It usually goes pretty fast so you had better get it before you head up to the political speaking. There is usually a solo artist that plays after the political speaking but a band normally starts soon thereafter to entertain while you visit with all of the new friends you have found. You need to make sure to hang around until 10 o'clock PM because they may call your name out to drive that new vehicle home that you just won.
If you're still in town on Sunday morning you can head back up to the Picnic grounds and help clean up. You'd be surprised to see that it doesn't look like anyone has even been in the area by lunch time. You see, we don't see the weekend over until everything is cleaned and put back where it belongs until next August.
A Day at the Picnic