Campus News

All-Campus Picnic Harkens Back to the Turn of the Century

Story posted July 06, 2000

A Simpler Time, by Cindy Bessmer and Tenley Meara

On a blanket under bright blue skies friends gathered to feast on baked ham, chicken, beans and cheddar cheese. Children frolicked on the grass and if you closed your eyes you might have thought you’d taken a step back to a “simpler time.” This year’s turn of the century theme for the all-campus picnic was a big hit. On June 29, colleagues and their families came from the four directions and gathered on the quad to enjoy an afternoon of feasting, fun, fiddling and frivolity. Pam Weeks and members of Scrod Pudding provided music while behind them a sheep, a rabbit, a couple of goats, a chicken and a llama occasionally harmonized along with the ringing of horseshoes and the smack of croquet balls.

People crowded around to meet the winner of the Cobbler Bake-off (Elizabeth Pritchard - First Prize; Joyce Welt - runner-up) hoping for a smidgen of the winning recipe. The winner of the Hewins Travel $200 gift certificate was Amy Minton. Joyce Whittemore, dressed as an elegant Victorian aristocrat, earned the $25 gold coin first prize purse for originality in the Costume Contest and the child with the most original costume was Adam Woodson. Alas, the Victorian photographer couldn't keep up with demand for pictures-- there were too many wonderful characters in costume.

Several years ago the first all-campus picnic featured hot dogs for a quarter and although that too was a “simpler time,” each year the picnic seems to take on a life of its own.

Themes of the past have included an Olympic-nic with guests arriving in togas and carrying department flags or participating in a running event; A Caribbean Get Away complete with a treasurer hunt and the awarding of a chest filled with $100 in coins to the person who correctly identified all the locations our treasurer was spotted the week before the picnic; a western barbecue with country music, line dancing and wagon rides; a 50’s theme featuring classic cars, guests in poodle skirts, root beer floats and karaoke.

The magnitude of planning these events is quite surprising. A committee begins working to identify a theme for next year’s picnic soon after the last chair is folded and table put away. Under the guidance of Human Resources staff (Mary Demers and most recently Cindy Bessmer) the committee meets through out the year to develop ideas, identify entertainment options, select a menu, choose a date and make rain plans. Facilities management staff begin setting up tables and chairs a day or two before the event while dining staff begin preparing food to be served on the big day.

This year we served 680 pieces of baked herb chicken, 101 pounds of baked ham, 120 pounds of vegetarian style baked beans, 170 pounds of potato salad, 72 pounds of pickled green tomatoes, 28 pounds of corn relish, 32 pounds of cheddar cheese, 450 biscuits, 520 pieces of corn bread, 530 hermits and 456 molasses cookies. It was hot and our guests quenched their thirst with 60 gallons of lemonade and 40 gallons of ice water.

There were many smiles seen on the faces of our guests that showed us this year’s picnic was a success! Many thanks to all of the members of the Picnic Planning Committee for setting the scene for another memorable All-Campus Picnic!

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