By: Haylie Smart | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2023
A few members of The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club pictured inside the rotunda at the Will Rogers Memorial. (Left to Right) Mikela Campos, member; Celeste Tillery, President; Monta Ewing, Vice President; Linda Coleman, Secretary; and member Debra West. Claremore, Oklahoma, 2023; Value News photo by TG Photography.
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. All of our food, entertainment, and activities are free to all who attend,” said Starr.
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 will also be serving their famous made-from-scratch strawberry shortcake made with biscuit crust, and side dishes as well.
Fun for all ages to participate in are Cherokee games you can play such as hatchet throwing, Cherokee marbles, blow guns, and corn stalk shoots. The staff at Will Rogers Memorial will also be there to educate on 19th century culture through performing various activities such as churning butter, blacksmithing, and corn grinding.
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 Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club higher education scholarship fundraiser is a raffle for a LEGACY Hasty Bake charcoal grill. Tickets are $10.00 each, or 3 tickets for $25.00. You can purchase tickets before and during the picnic by contacting Ollie Starr at (918) 760-7499; or email: eat1@eau1eav1eaw1. You need not be present to win. The drawing will be held May 20, 2023 at the “Old Fashioned Picnic.”
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. Admission and activities are free.
The Old-Fashioned Picnic coincides with the community-wide festival, Oologah Pioneer Days, so Starr urges people to take advantage of the fun-filled day by coming out to the Old Fashioned Picnic and visiting the town of Oologah where there will be a parade, community-wide festival and street dance.
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