Trask Bridge Picnic observes 100 years
Contributed by Don Milne
The Trask Bridge Picnic, long a rural community event, observes its 100th anniversary this year, and will be held this Sunday, Aug. 2. Trask Bridge and Burritt Grange were the original sponsors of the event from 1911 to 1965.
Don Milne, who was in charge of at least two picnics and serves as a master at Burritt Grange, said, “Members of Burritt Grange originated it in 1911. Burritt Grange was a little over a year old at the time. Four farmers had a harvest picnic in 1910, and it got so big, the four guys couldn’t handle it, and they persuaded Burritt Grange to take over and changed the name to Trask Bridge Picnic, because it was in Andrews Grove on Trask Bridge Road.”
Hours for this Sunday’s picnic are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “They call it the Trask Bridge Picnic Revisited because they could never put the original event on again,” explained Milne. “During the picnic time, we had upwards of 50,000 to 60,000 people in one day. It was the world’s largest–like a small fair. It had a midway; all the different farm implement dealers brought a lot of machines out for display, like John Deere, International Harvester, Case and others. A lot of stores in Rockford brought out merchandise and setup a tent. It covered quite an area.”
He recalled that it was a chance for local leaders to put on a show. “Fred Machesney brought his airplane and gave rides for a fee,” Milne said. “We’re recognizing the 100 years of Burritt Grange.”
At Sunday’s event, Milne will give a speech about Burritt Grange and the history of Trask Bridge Picnic. He added that another speaker is coming from South Carolina, a man who grew up in Rockford and will set up a little steam engine display. Hungry visitors will be attracted to Burritt Meats lunch stand, which will be available most of the day.
Directions for this year’s picnic: It will be at the town hall in Burritt on Route 70, about a mile and a half west of Meridian Road.
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