Masons planning evening picnic

Published 8:24 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

Held since 1878 as a fundraiser for the Masonic-sponsored Oxford Orphanage – now the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford – the three Davie County Masonic lodges will hold this year’s picnic on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Masonic Picnic Grounds on Poplar Street behind the Brock center in Mocksville.

The community is invited.

The tradition of holding the picnic for the orphanage began in the summer of 1878 when the three Sunday schools joined forces and spent a day picnicking at the “Shoals,” on the South Yadkin River in Cooleemee. On one of these occasions it was suggested that the money left over from purchasing refreshments be sent to the Oxford Orphanage.

A few years prior, the old St. John’s College at Oxford, which was built to educate Masons’ daughters, was in debt and had to be sold.  Then, in 1872, the Grand Masonic Lodge met, and a motion was made and approved that the college be turned into an orphanage.

It became the custom for the superintendent at the orphanage to tour the state with children to raise funds.  With the sponsorship of Masonic lodges they have put on programs of music, recitations, and skits at the picnics and invited speakers whose names have included governors, congressmen, judges, ministers, orators, and writers.

This year, in addition to remarks from dignitaries, a country band will provide music and an air inflated jump-house will be installed for children.

A buffet has always been the central feature. This year’s buffet will be prepared by the wives and daughters of the Davie Masons and will be supplemented by chef specialties from local restaurants. The buffet is available for an $8 contribution to the orphanage.

The orphanage provides a safe, nurturing, family-like environment for children from infancy through age 18. Staff assists youth with their daily needs, teaching independent living skills, building positive relationships and memories, and providing an environment that allows for the constant development of the residents’ social, spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic growth and goals.

This year’s picnic is sponsored by the Advance, Farmington and Mocksville Masonic lodges in memory of Past Master Taylor Slye, who died late last year.  All net proceeds are donated to the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.   

Meal tickets are available at the picnic.