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The Progress Home >> Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 140-year-old Frenchville Picnic Saturday and Sunday

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140-year-old Frenchville Picnic Saturday and Sunday
Thursday, July 15, 2010
By Annie Lynn Staff Writer
FRENCHVILLE - One hundred and forty years, still going strong and growing, a description well fitting for the annual Frenchville Picnic, which gets under way Saturday and continues through Sunday.
According to picnic Chairwoman Mary Kay Royer, the first settlers came to the area from France around 1830 and the first church was dedicated July 8, 1840, by Bishop Kenrick. However, the first Mass was celebrated in Frenchville in 1834.
The first immigrant from France to die is buried in the church cemetery. The headstone reads, "Irrene Plubell, born in France 1778, died 1833, 55 years old."
Royer noted the current church building, completed in 1870, was constructed from native stone by local workers. To celebrate its completion, a picnic was planned and held in August of that year. The picnic was listed as the outstanding social event in this section of the state. It has become an established event, continuing now for 140 years.
A special train and Fulton Co. ran a jutney service to the picnic before state Route 879 was built. And, the picnic was visited by Pennsylvania Gov. Gifford Pinchot. Proceeds from the 1890 picnic were used to construct the steeple on the church. The present rectory was built in 1872 and is currently being renovated.
The picnic, sponsored by the St. Mary's Catholic Church, begins Saturday with Mass at St. Mary's Church at 4 p.m. The picnic grove opens at 5 p.m. featuring a family night theme. Saturday's activities end with fireworks by R&R Fireworks Inc. beginning at 10:01 p.m.
Sunday's activities begin at noon with dinner featuring a barbecue or roasted chicken and ham. The meal will be served until 5 p.m. Prices are $8 for adults and $4 for children younger than 12. Diners are invited to sit and be served for the meal, and takeouts are available.
At 1 p.m., a free show will be presented by The Moore Brothers. Registration for the horseshoe tournament will be at 1:30 p.m. followed by the tournament at 2 p.m. It was noted participants may use their own shoes or those provided.
The Moore Brothers are back at 3 p.m. for another show. A favorite activity for kids 12 and younger begins at 6 p.m. - the Sawdust Money Scramble. The drawing for prizes begins at 10 p.m.
Other features of the picnic are booths offering ice cream, bingo, plush animals, 50-50, French raffle, flea market, funnel cakes, Altar and Rosary crafts and baked goods, snow cones, iced tea, lemonade, great food and more. There will also be kids' games, hayrides and golf games.
For tickets on money prizes, contact the church rectory at 263-4354. The public is welcome to attend. Royer said the grove is open to everyone. Parking, admission and shows are free.
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