By Blair Thomas
It’s a celebration that traces its roots back to 1854. The Irish Picnic at Saint Patrick’s School in McEwen, Tennessee, is said to be the oldest continuously running festival in the state, and it’s not by the luck of the Irish that it draws some 25,000 visitors each year.
Hard work and dedication from parents, friends and family combined with some 21,000 pounds of barbecue pork slow cooked over hickory-bark coals make this a delicious and fun tradition.
The celebration, a fundraiser for the 158-year-old school, always takes place the last Friday and Saturday in July. This year it is held on July 25-26, 2014. Early visitors can enjoy their share of 4,200 chicken halves that will be prepared for lunch on Friday. Live music and dancing begins at 6 p.m. in the outdoor bandstand. Games including basketball and darts will test your Irish luck. The festival continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
For more information about the picnic and the school, contact the parish office at (931) 582-3493.