Centennial of Barwick picnic commemorated

Lindsay Campbell

Barwick residents had the chance to commemorate the first picnic held there 100 years ago this past weekend.
When the first picnic was held in August, 1915, the goal was to hold one every year after that.
But because of the First World War, only one more was held.
The commemorative event, which ran Saturday from 2-7 p.m. at the waterfront in Barwick, featured a number of traditional picnic games, such as a watermelon-eating contest, threading of the spoon, and a three-legged race.
Rick Neilson of Chapple Township also was announced as the winner of New Gold’s short story contest, in which applicants were required to share a story about early settlers, mining activities, or any other interesting one that took place in Chapple.
Along with a cold plate supper, those on hand also were able to enjoy music provided by the Emo Legion’s “Country Jam” and free car rides around the community courtesy of George Oltsher in his 1927 Whippet.
Trisha Wilson, co-chair of the Chapple rec council, said there was a lot of historical importance in hosting the picnic in its centennial year.
“I think because the intent of the first picnic was to do it every year after that, I can only imagine there may have been a little regret on some people’s minds,” she remarked.
“Having this be 100 years later to the date was just very nostalgic.”
Wilson added she was happy with the turnout even though the planning committee had been expecting a higher attendance.
“It’s the long weekend and there was the Duncan Keith thing going on [in Fort Frances], and there was a lot of really great activities across the district to attend,” she noted.
“So we’re just very grateful that 100 or so people chose to come and experience this picnic with us,” she enthused.
“We got a lot of positive feedback and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.”
Brielle Byma, who spent the day there with her family, said she liked how the picnic was modelled under traditional games that would have happened a century ago.
“All of the activities they organized were very well done and the kids had a lot of fun,” she noted.
“And I had a lot of fun myself, too, so I thought it was a good event.
“[What] I liked the most about today was that all my family is here together, and that we came and we get to spend some time together, and it’s great to come out and spend a nice day like today in such nice weather together.”
Byma also said she believes people should come out to more community events like this.
“It’s important for people to come to these community events to show their support for the community and learn the history and visit with people, and just come out and support everyone that organized it,” she stressed.
Wilson said she hopes to continue the tradition and have more picnics like this for area residents.
“It would be nice to have something like this every year and to have some historical ties to the community,” she noted.
“In the future, having even more little tidbits of information on what Chapple was like back then would be great,” Wilson added.
“It doesn’t have to be 100 years ago.”