Annual picnic slated for Saturday

August 03, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG - Charles Eccard said the Garfield United Methodist Church Sunday School picnic has been a regular summertime event since 1900 - the same year the church was started.

"I think there were a couple of missed years during World War II," Eccard said as the 2005 picnic approaches Saturday.

This year's event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the church picnic grounds on Garfield Road at the intersection with Brandenburg Hollow Road. Signs have been erected in the Smithsburg area and along Md. 77 to show people the way to the public picnic.


A church trustee for 53 years and veteran Sunday school superintendent, Eccard also was chairman of the picnic committee about 11 times, but not this year.

Dixie Healy, a member of the church for about 18 months, is chairing this year's picnic. But she said she has had a lot of help and counsel from Eccard and others who have vast experience.

Entertainment on Saturday consists of The Harmony Coronet Band from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., then Down Home Gospel from 2 to 4 p.m.

Food stand items will include country ham sandwiches, french fries, steamers, chili, hot dogs, beverages and ice cream.

"We have women who make soup Thursday and Friday and then we haul it to the picnic grounds on Saturday," Healy said.

Church member Roger Schroyer cooks pit beef for the picnic, Healy said.

The picnic will feature baked goods for sale and a white elephant table filled with items for sale.

A big feature at the picnic are the games for children. There is a goldfish game, soda ring toss, basketball and a one-hole miniature golf game. Admission is 25 cents per game.

When the picnic was organized 105 years ago, there was one table for church members and another table for the members of the band, Eccard said.

"The food was brought in as a covered-dish supper," he said.

Many came to the picnic by horse and buggy in those days, Eccard said.

"When I was a kid, I came at daybreak and stayed until dark," he said.

Over the years, the picnic has been at three different locations, sometimes at members' home properties. Funds raised through the sale of food and tickets for games are used to help support church needs throughout the year.

"Last year, there were probably about 200 people at the picnic," Eccard said. The 2004 picnic raised $2,500 for the church.

Healy, who was involved with games last year at the picnic, was asked by Eccard to take the reins this year and she agreed.

She and her husband, Vince, and their 14-year-old son, Vinny, joined the church about 11/2 years ago.

"With all the good things in our lives, I told my husband we needed to go to church," Healy said. "We haven't missed many Sundays since then."

The popularity of the Garfield picnic is legendary. Just ask Dixie Eccard, Charles' wife.

"One year when I was in the hospital, they brought me home for the picnic and then took me right back to the hospital," she said.

In case of rain on Saturday, the picnic will be at the church building on Stottlemyer Road about one mile from the picnic area.

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