By: Haylie Smart | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2023
The Old-Fashioned Picnic is way for the Cherokee to educate the community about their culture.
What started out as Cherokee fellowshipping with each other over a meal to celebrate the end of the year (which was in May, not December), became an official event in 1902 as a way to educate the community about Cherokee life.
“We are the caretakers of our history, heritage, and culture,” Ollie Starr, Executive Director of the Indian Woman’s Pocahontas Club, said.
Though these Old-Fashioned Picnics have taken place in many locations through the years, a partnership with Will Rogers Memorial Museum has allowed them to have the picnic at the Will Rogers Birthplace for the last twenty years or so.
“The Cherokee Nation is sponsoring our picnic this year, but we’re also going to be working with the Oologah Pioneer Day,” Starr said.
The Old-Fashioned Picnic coincides with the community-wide festival, so Starr urges people to take advantage of the fun-filled day, which will include a parade and a barn-style street dance.
Some of the festivities include an old-fashioned hog fry, where the hog is cooked on the ground in large black kettles over a fire, and anyone wanting to watch the cooking of the hog is welcome to come, but needs to arrive at 9 a.m.
They’re going to have their famous strawberry shortcake made with biscuit crust as well.
Cherokee games people can play will be hatchet throwing, Cherokee marbles, blow guns, and corn stalk shoots. Staff at Will Rogers Memorial will also be there to educate on the culture through performing various activities, such as churning butter.
“The event is free and open to the public for anyone who wants to celebrate our Cherokee heritage with us,” she said.
Guests can also enjoy Western swing music by the local band Don Cooper and the Green Country Playboys. “The fiddle is a very important musical instrument in the Pocahontas club because the first thing we ever did was a barn dance,” Starr said.
During lunch there will also be an announcement from Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. guests will not want to miss.
The Old-Fashioned Picnic will be held at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. For more information, contact Ollie Starr at 918-760-7499 or eat1@eau1eav1eaw1.
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