The oldest, continuing picnic in Pennsylvania is held the third weekend of July.
The first Frenchville Picnic was held in 1870 to celebrate the completion of the then new St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s stone building.
The annual picnic has become a tradition for generations of local people and has had guests from as far away as France and Canada. The picnic is held every year and has become the church’s largest fundraiser.
Early on, the picnic was a small social gathering for church members held usually on a weekday.
As the years moved forward, so did the scale of the picnic. Currently, the picnic is a two-day event that is highlighted by a Saturday night fireworks display and the Sunday chicken or ham barbeque dinner held in the parish social hall.
The amazing meal is served family-style with homemade desserts. Many people come from miles around, lining up early.
Other popular attractions are the “French Raffle,” bingo games, food stands and the traditional hay rides. There is also a community history booth, which presents an in-depth recounting of the history and events of the early days of Frenchville.
Sunday is also the day that country and bluegrass music delights the crowd at the picnic grove.
The Frenchville Picnic is a long-standing tradition of fun and fellowship, and is a time to remember the hard work and sacrifice that the original settlers, many from the Haute-Marne region of northeast France, and the generations thereafter, gave to make the picnic an established success.
The photo, showing cars of the time, was taken in the 1920’s.