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Pocahontas Club Brings Annual Old-Fashioned Picnic Back to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch

By: Tom Fink | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: April 2022

(L-R) Secretary Linda Coleman, Vice President Monta Ewing, President Celeste Tillery

(L-R) 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 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.”

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.

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, we’re going to be partnering with the Will Rogers Memorial 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.

“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, we’re hoping that (Cherokee Principal Chief) Chuck Hoskin Jr. will be speaking at some point, and in addition to the usual activities, this year’s picnic will include the Country Fare Quilter’s Guild and Cowboy Trade Days – both, fun for the whole family – with live music and more throughout the day.”

Gospel music is slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. and traditional Cherokee games – including Cherokee marbles, cornstalk shoot, hatchet throwing, horseshoes and blowguns – followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m.

Lunch is free, but a $10 donation is suggested and appreciated.

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 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oologah.

For more information, contact Ollie Starr at 918-760-7499 or email eat1@eau1eav1eaw1, Celeste Tillery at 918-724-3006 or visit the group’s website at

For vendor information, contact Jennifer at 918-402-3057 or Cindy at 918-264-4351.

Music and entertainment at the Old-Fashioned Picnic.

Music and entertainment at the Old-Fashioned Picnic.

Shopping at the Old-Fashioned Picnic.

Shopping at the Old-Fashioned Picnic.

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Indian Women's Pocahontas Club

For more information, contact:

Indian Women's Pocahontas Club

(918) 760-0813
P.O. Box 3252 | Claremore, OK

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