Picnic mission still the same

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Davie residents of a certain age have fond memories of the Masonic Picnic.

Back in the day, it was the highlight of every Davie kid’s summer. There were carnival rides. Remember, this was before Carowinds and other amusement parks. If you wanted to get on an amusement ride, you went to the picnic.

It’s a wonder we survived. Looking back, those machines were, well, rickety. So were the characters who operated them.

But it didn’t matter. The picnic had the rides and smells of a carnival, and all of your friends from school were there, many of whom you hadn’t seen all summer.

I remember coming home once with an armful of dishes I had won tossing nickles. My mom wasn’t happy. She didn’t need or want the dishes.

I also remember that first public kiss, somewhere behind the Tilt-A-Whirl. My head is still spinning.

Even my father remembered going to the picnic back in the ‘30s. He earned money by tending an acre of cotton. He lost that money at the picnic to a con artist with a spinning wheel. It only happened once.

While no longer a week-long event with carnival rides, the picnic is still going on, folks. It’s changed, but hasn’t everything?

On Saturday afternoon and evening, the picnic grounds off of North Main Street in Mocksville will be filled with food trucks, vendors, games and live music. The Masonic lodges in Davie County are doing what they can to keep the tradition alive.


The cause is more than worthy.

All it took for me was one trip to the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford (That’s where proceeds from the picnic have always gone). I had no idea what to expect. One little girl pretty much sealed the deal as she held onto my leg while I was there. It was all I could do to walk without carrying her along.

And around every turn was a child – a child wanting attention. “Look at this.” “Watch me.” “Do you want to play?”

It was overwhelming, and heartwarming. These children were being lovingly cared for.

Things are done a bit differently at the children’s home nowadays, but the mission is the same. They give children without much of a home life a place to grow into productive and happy adults.

It’s OK to drop an extra twenty in the donation jar on Saturday. There’s no better feeling than helping a child.

– Mike Barnhardt