Irish Picnic Celebration

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Irish Picnic Celebration

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McEwen, Tennessee -- From being listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest outdoor barbecue, to having famed country comedian Minnie Pearl perform in the outdoor bandstand, to being featured on public television’s Tennessee Crossroads, to being the host site of a Tracy Byrd country music video Watermelon Crawl, St. Patrick’s Irish Picnic has gained many accolades throughout the years.

Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29, mark 163 years of Irish Picnics for McEwen and the community of St. Patrick’s, which includes parishioners from all of Humphreys County.

From raising funds for a church bell in 1854 to building a brand new school in 2003, the people of St. Patrick’s Parish know the secret for a successful Irish Picnic: nearly 300 community volunteers, 20,000 pounds of the tastiest barbecue in the south, hundreds of gallons of secret sauce, live music and entertainment in the outdoor bandstand, a wide array of game booths for all ages and many, many prayers.

The event has grown from local farmers donating pigs and sheep for a single fundraising meal in 1854 to a two-day event which includes barbecuing 10 tons of pork and over 2,000 chickens, slow-cooked to perfection.

The secret sauce recipe, brought from Ireland to McEwen by the Walsh family in the 1800’s, has been used on the barbecue since the Irish Picnic began. It will be sold throughout the two-day event.

Lifelong parishioner Barbara Hooper remembers that while the Irish Picnic has grown over the years, the purpose is still the same. “The Irish Picnic is truly a celebration for our whole community. It’s amazing to think that it’s gone on for 163 years. We’re grateful to all those who support us. Every dime we make goes to St. Patrick’s School so when the doors open again in the fall and our students return, we’ll see that all the hard work paid off.”

St. Patrick’s school is one of the oldest parochial schools in the Nashville Diocese, having served students in Humphreys County and surrounding communities since 1856. All funds generated by the Irish Picnic support the operating expenses of the school.

This year’s schedule of events includes live entertainment, silent auction and game booths beginning at 5:30 p.m., Friday, July 28. Barbecue chickens are sold throughout the day beginning at noon. A limited amount of St. Patrick’s famous barbecue pork sandwiches will be available in the evening hours.

The barbecue is available at 7 a.m. Saturday with the game booths opening at 10 a.m. Festivities conclude at 11 p.m. both days.

Admission and parking to the event are free.

For more information about St. Patrick’s Irish Picnic, contact the St. Patrick’s school and church office at (931) 582-3493.

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Irish Picnic Celebration
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