The Clarksville Picnic, sponsored by St. Louis, is a tradition that will celebrate its 135 year in 2013. The picnic is always held on the last Saturday in June. This year it’s June 29. Volunteers of all ages are needed -- we guarantee you’ll enjoy it. If you would like to volunteer for the Clarksville Picnic, please click here.
|General Chairperson||Tom Louden||410-730-6866|
|Dining Rooom||Edna Ballard||410-531-0386|
|Fast Food||Scott Sokolowski||301-854-1020|
|Game Stands||Tony Comberiate||301-776-3055|
|Game Stands||Chrissie Day||410-876-1288|
|Money Raffle||Susan Miller||410-531-5021|
|Money Raffle||Daria McGehee||410-442-1853|
|Volunteer Coordinator||Suzy Hill||410-531-4838|
|Site Director||Chris Feaga||410-531-3307|
|Site Director||Brad Jones||410-531-6040|
The Clarksville Picnic began over one-hundred years ago, in 1878, during the tenure of our second pastor, Father Hugh Griffin. The grounds of the original St. Louis Church and Cemetery (on Ten Oaks Rd) were the site of the event. Later, exactly when is unknown, a pavilion was constructed for preparation of the food and evening dancing. The parishioners from these earliest years conducted the Picnic, and many old-timers still recall the necessity of hauling water to the grounds for cooking and drinking as none could be had locally.
The Picnic traditionally was held on the first Wednesday of August. The reasons were substantial ones for the time. The county was nearly all a farming community and the first week of August fell between planting and harvest. This was fine for the farmers. The middle of the week enabled the workers to keep their weekends free for church-going and family life. Travel was by horseback and carriage and the county distances needed time. With these circumstances the Picnic thrived and grew at the Old Church Grounds.
During the tenure of Father Michael Egan the postwar years saw a great increase in the Picnic crowds. Even then the dinners served numbered over two thousand under the old picnic tent. But to have the Picnic develop, a change was necessary. When Father Myles McGowan came to Clarksville in 1958 he recognized the difficulties of the existing situation and, in 1959, changed the location to the present site in “downtown Clarksville”, and from the farmer’s convenient Wednesday to the modern working man’s convenient Saturday. The Picnic flourished greatly.
Ten years later, in 1969 and the Picnic’s 91st year, Monsignor Anthony Sauerwein deemed another time change advisable from the sticky, hot August with its uncertain rainy weather to the last Saturday in June. There were the added advantages of more people to assist with the Picnic (over a hundred more volunteers signed up for Picnic jobs), the earlier date which has the novelty of appeal early in the season, and the chance to attract vacation dollars before they were all gone!
The Clarksville Picnic is perhaps the oldest of its kind in the state. It has been made so by the enthusiasm of the people - both parishioners and friends-who still find it a great gathering time for pleasure, hard work and pride in seeing a grand tradition continue.