LEON — In 1904, the first Leon Town Picnic was organized, and 115 years later it is still thriving.
Although the rain may have put a damper on the number in attendance, it did not dampen the spirits of the 60 individuals who did brave the elements.
The dedication of the new signage by the Leon Historical Society, honoring the military from Leon going back as far as the Civil War, was rescheduled for a future date. However, the society did have a number of historical memorabilia available for viewing.
A highlight of the displays was a framed collection of ribbons from past Leon Town Picnics that dated back to 1920. This wonderful collection was donated by Karen Belt. Fred Milliman was present with information and historical facts and displays with regard to the Penny Royal Racetrack. Fire equipment and vehicles were made available for inspection by Leon residents.
The day included a picnic lunch, Chinese Auction, 50/50s, door prizes and old fashioned
games enjoyed by young and old alike. As in the first picnic in 1904, residents renewed old friendships and formed new acquaintances.
Among some of the original picnic sites were Frank Cooper’s on the Flatiron Road, Delmar Cooper's grove on the south side of Cherry Creek Hill and Franklin grove on the north side of Cherry Creek Hill.
Helen Brand Cunningham, a teacher in the public school system, was the secretary of the Leon Picnic Association and was said to be the life of that institution.
Her goal was to have one day a year when all would “lay down the burdens of the day and assemble in some pleasant spot for a day of recreation and pleasure in which residents were invited to participate in and return to the scenes of their childhood, or scenes of active life, renew old friendships and form new acquaintances.”
The annual picnic is sponsored the Leon Fire Commissioners with support provided by the Leon Fire Department, the Leon Fire Auxiliary, the Leon Town Board and the Leon Historical
Society. The picnic is held the third Saturday in August so mark your calendars for next year.