REDFORD One hundred fifty-two years is a long time, so its no surprise that the Redford Picnic is believed to be the oldest annual picnic held by a parish in the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Sunshine and smiles were plentiful at the event, which was held on Sunday afternoon Aug. 19, from 11:30 until about 6:30. Over 20 game booths and several food stands were set up around the Assumption of Mary Chapel in the small mountain town of Redford. Ham and roast beef dinners were served in the parish school gym, and the traditional auction was held just outside the school building.
The focal points of the event were the homemade pies, live music from local artists, and the merry-go-round. Roy Hurd, a Redford native, performed from 12 noon - 2, "Side By Side" took the next two hours, and the final two hours were filled by "Too Big For the Corner Band".
The merry-go-round was believed to be the oldest one in North America for many years, and in actuality it may be. That claim was challenged several years ago by another carousel of antiquity, and since the actual date of origin is not known it can not be proved which of the two is the oldest. The merry-go-round is housed in a building next to the church, and is only opened up and operated for the annual picnic. People of all ages lined up for $1 rides all day long.
Nelson Durocher was on hand with his John Deere tractor to keep the carousel turning, a responsibility he has undertaken for about 15 years. Durocher connected his tractors power take off to the belt system of the merry-go-round and Joe Racette signaled to him when to stop and start. Racette also collected the tickets.
The Parish acquired the carousel from Charles Hooey of Redford. The tale persists that a group of men traveling with the merry-go-round became seriously in debt, and while they were in Redford with it, they decided to sell it. The ride was made in Tonawanda, NY by the Horseshell Company and came with a Band Organ or Calliope which produces music loud enough to drown out the sound of Durocher's John Deere.
The success of the picnic depended on a multitude of volunteers from the parish and the community. All proceeds will go towards major repairs or renovations for the parish. Last year the building that houses the merry-go-round had new siding put on. This year the money will be used to repair the parking lot and drainage problems. A future picnic will cover the costs for a new chapel roof.
It is a wonderful thing for the parishioners and friends to be working together on a common project, commented Father Don Kramberg. It benefits everyone.