FRENCHVILLE — It’s that time of year again for those in the area and those all over the country make the trek back to Frenchville for the 149th Annual Frenchville Picnic, sponsored by St. Mary Catholic Church.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the church’s picnic grove.
Event organizer Mary Kay Royer said the picnic is one of the biggest events of the downriver area.
“It’s a rather big homecoming for everybody,” Royer said. “If you’ve lived in the area, if you have camps in the area, if you have family in the area, this is the big time where everybody comes home.”
Royer said they’ve previously had representation at the picnic from all 50 states at one point or another.
“In general, we sell almost 1,000 sit down dinners,” Royer said.
Those dinners are served on Sunday from 12-5 p.m. and include either barbecue or oven roasted chicken or a ham dinner with homemade desserts, costing $12 for adults and $7 for children under the age of 12.
Parking and entertainment is free, with many different booths offering a variety of food if you’re not interested in the sit down dinners.
“We’ve got snow cones, lemonade, iced tea, funnel cakes,” Royer said. “The lunch stand has just about anything you want, from haluski to hot sausage to chicken fingers ... It’s more than just hamburgers and hot dogs.”
Royer said the first picnic in 1870 was held to dedicate the new church, with parishioners coming from the 52 original French families who settled in the area.
The picnic itself starts with the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Mary Church on Saturday and the picnic grove opens at 5 p.m. for a family night of fun.
A big draw on Saturday is the fireworks show at 10 p.m. presented by R&R Fireworks, Inc., with Royer saying it gets quite populated with folks watching the event.
Sunday’s events start at noon with the dinners and continues up until 9 p.m. with drawings for prizes. Throughout the day, there is a horseshoe tournament, bingo, a 50/50, a French raffle, hayrides, free entertainers in Heather Olson and The Moore Brothers, and plenty of kids games — including the sawdust money scramble.
“It is a big event,” Royer said. “A lot of people come back and they visit and see people they’ve never seen before.”
The full schedule is as follows:
Saturday, July 20
- 4 p.m. — Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church
- 5 p.m. — Picnic Grove opens, Family Night Theme
- 10 p.m. — Fireworks by R&R Fireworks, Inc.
Sunday, July 21
- 12 p.m. — Barbecue or oven roasted chicken or ham dinner, continually serving until 5 p.m.
- 12:30 p.m. — Registration for horse shoe tournament (may use own shoes or be provided)
- 1 p.m. — The Moore Brothers
- 1:30 p.m. — Horse shoe tournament
- 3 p.m. — The Moore Brothers
- 6 p.m. — Heather Olson
- 6 p.m. — Saw dust money scramble for kids ages 12 and under
- 9 p.m. — Drawing for prizes