FRENCHVILLE – The 145th annual Frenchville Picnic will be held this weekend.
The picnic is sponsored by the St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Frenchville. It will be a special picnic with the parish celebrating its 175th anniversary.
According to a press release, there isn’t a community or region in Clearfield County that can link itself more to one church. The first French settlers in the area were from the Haunte Saone and Haunte Marne region of France and all Roman Catholics.
By 1840 the parish was established and there were about 40 families here. The first church was dedicated July 8, 1840 by Bishop Rev. Francis P. Kendrick of Philadelphia.
The current stone church was built and dedicated Oct 8, 1870 and has been used since. It was built using native stone quarried by parishioners, according to a press release.
To celebrate the completion of the new church, a picnic was held that year in August. The picnic was such a success that it was continued every year since. This church is the oldest Catholic building still being used in the Erie Diocese.
Saturday’s festivities will start with a 4 p.m. mass at the church. In celebration of the 175th anniversary, the mass will be said by the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, JCL, Bishop of Erie. Festivities will conclude with a 10 p.m. fireworks display, weather permitting.
“It is the biggest social event of the entire down river region. A big part of the festivities includes eating and recreations. Sitting under the shade trees and listening to music, reminiscing and renewing past friendships,” said organizers.
“Family reunions are held around the picnic schedule. People come from great distances and families who had moved away from the area still come back for this event.”
On Sunday attendees will start to line up for the lunch at 10:30 a.m. for a ham or oven-roasted or BBQ chicken dinner, which will be continuously served, starting at 12 p.m.
Also, the Moore Brothers will provide entertainment at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.