By: Tom Fink | Category: Rogers County | Issue: May 2022
Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club Officers (L-R) are Secretary Linda Coleman, Vice President Monta Ewing, President Celeste Tillery
In America, there are few things more traditional than the family picnic.
This May, the members of the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club are bringing back one of their own community friendship traditions with the annual “Old Fashioned Picnic” in northeast Oklahoma – and the public is invited.
“The Old Fashioned Picnic is an event that’s been happening ever since the Pocahontas Club was founded in 1899, when picnics were the social gatherings of the day,” said Ollie Starr, longtime Pocahontas Club member. “As our club members are caretakers of the Cherokee culture, heritage and communities, we’ve continued to have this picnic every year, as it’s become one of our many traditions. It’s a FRIENDSHIP event where all ages can come and have fun in the country with games, entertainment, great food, demonstrations and shop vendors of all kinds.”
Starr said the first picnic – which originally included a dance – was first held in Talala, but over time, the location was changed to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in nearby Oologah.
Dancing at the Old-Fashioned Picnic.
“The Birthplace Ranch is a perfect fit for this picnic, since Will Rogers himself was both a Cherokee and an early member of the club,” she said. “Our club has been holding this event from the very beginning, but this year, IWPC is partnering with the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and the Cherokee Nation to make this picnic even better.”
Gates at the Birthplace Ranch are scheduled to open at 9 a.m., when the traditional hog fry and cooking also will begin on-site. Live entertainment and activities start at 10 a.m.
“I’ve been going to these picnics for at least 15 years, and each one is always a little different, so even if you’ve been to one in the past, there’s something new to see and do each time,” Starr said. “For example, the Cherokee Nation delegate to Congress, Kim Teehee, will be our guest speaker, and new for this year will be the Country Fare Quilters Guild, Trade Days.”
Gospel music is slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. and traditional Cherokee games – including Cherokee marbles, a cornstalk shoot, horseshoes, hatchet throwing and blow guns – followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. You can even see corn grinding and blacksmith demonstrations!
Cost for lunch is free, but a $10 donation is suggested and appreciated. Fresh made-from-scratch strawberry shortcake will be served for dessert.
Pottery and basket-making events are planned, with more “hands-on” events to be held this year than in previous years.
Starr noted that the event is now as it was from its very beginning, an opportunity for people from all walks of life, club members, non-club members, Native American or not, to get together in a social gathering to enjoy one-another’s company and learn more about Cherokee heritage.
The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club’s annual Old Fashioned Picnic will be held Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, 9501 E. 380 Road, Oologah, OK.
For more information, contact Ollie Starr at 918-760-7499 or email eat0@eau0eav0eaw0, Celeste Tillery at 918-724-3006 or visit the group’s website at www.indianwpc.org.
For vendor information, contact Jennifer at 918-402-3057 or Cindy at 918-264-4351.
Oh yes! Fresh made-from-scratch strawberry shortcake will be served for dessert.
A day in the countryside at Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch is good for the soul.
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