Low humidity and a sunny sky on Saturday helped draw a large crowd to the annual St. Anthony Parish Picnic.
There was rarely an empty seat in the Bingo tent as volunteers read aloud letter and number combinations.
The annual picnic has been held for over 60 years, serving as a major fundraiser for the parish. It offers activities for all ages.
While children were competing for small prizes participating in carnival games like Plinko, mini-golf and Tic-Tac-Toe, adults roamed the grounds and socialized with family and friends.
Stella Passaalacqua witnessed the smile on James Rincker’s face as she handed him a Wiffle ball to throw at the Tic-Tac-Toe game. Under the supervision of his grandfather Kent Goeckner, Rincker launched several balls at a compartment with six containers attempting to take home a prize.
Larry Goldstein came to the picnic with his wife, Susan and their grandson Aiden.
“This is probably my sixtieth time here,” Goldstein said. “We just love the fellowship of coming here every year.”
Susan Goldstein started attending the event since when she started dating her husband in 1984 before they were married in 1985. Goldstein said she is originally from Jasper County.
“He has been going his whole life,” Susan Goldstein said about her husband.
“It supports our parish,” Susan Goldstein said. “And it’s really good family time.”
Goldstein said she sees the change of the picnic location over the years as a positive.
“I like the grounds so much better since they started having it here at the high school,” Susan Goldstein said. “This is not as hot.”
“It used to be at the grade school,” Larry Goldstein explained.
The Goldstein’s agreed having the picnic at the high school with grass grounds beat the heat generated from the asphalt grade school parking lot. Susan Goldstein said she could remember several years ago pushing a stroller with her two daughters across the hot grade school parking lot.
“This is so much cooler over here,” Susan Goldstein said.
Don Koester comes to the picnic for another reason, to volunteer.
“I’ve been a member of this parish for 81 years,” Koester said. “I come to the picnic every year.”
“Everybody does a lot of volunteer work,” Koester said about how the annual picnic operates.
Koester said several volunteers from the parish help with everything from concessions, carnival games, cleaning up the grounds to getting the grounds mowed before the picnic.
“The only thing that will be left on the grounds Monday morning will be a few tents,” Koester said.
Charles Mills can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.