What’s a really great way to kick off the summer season? How about a picnic in the park? Especially if it’s free. Which this one is. And close by. Which it also is.
Organized by this year’s chairpersons Dana Stone and Paul Stone, the picnic is McCoy Farm and Gardens’ fifth annual Memorial Day Picnic. Held on Monday, May 27, at the McCoy Farm and Gardens at 1715 Anderson Pike, festivities begin promptly at 11 a.m. with a flag salute, national anthem, blessing, and raptor release, and lasts until 3 p.m. If you’ve never seen a raptor up close, this is a good opportunity. Alex Parks from Happinest Wildlife Rehabilitation rescues and rehabilitates injured birds, and when they’re ready, she releases them fly back into the wild. It is truly thrilling to watch.
Everyone of every age from everywhere is invited: Walden, Signal Mountain, Dunlap, Chattanooga, Hixson … you get the idea. The more, the better! Get together with family, friends, neighbors, maybe make some new friends, eat too much, listen to music, play games, and buy stuff. But the real and best reason to attend is to honor and celebrate America’s veterans, which is what Memorial Day is actually all about. It’s extra-meaningful when celebrated in community.
You don’t have to eat, but it’s not easy to keep smelling hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza without giving in. The hardworking cooks are members of the Lions Club and they also serve ice cream and Coca-Cola products, which are impossible to pass up, in this writer’s opinion. But you can also bring your own picnic, which is excellent, because some people make the best stuff for picnics, like cakes and deviled eggs. If you don’t bring your own cake, maybe you can win one at the Cake Walk. It’s awesome to go home with a whole cake!
McCoy Farm is a super place to play, and to make sure everything is copacetic, Mountain Top Toys will have a supervised area for kids, as well as for those who wish they were still kids, to play. At the blacksmith shop (which the Lions Club totally rebuilt), Mr. Hugh Bowie and Pastor Caleb Pitkin of Signal Mountain United Methodist Church will be demonstrating blacksmithing skills the way it was done back in the day.
The Waldens Ridge Guild volunteers, led by Anne Leonard, will serve as docents for the beautifully restored McCoy House, so visitors can tour it and imagine the family living there. WRES members will also be in attendance, first and foremost to provide security, and second, to answer questions and familiarize everyone about what they do on the community’s behalf.
Kids from Thrasher Elementary will present a musical salute to veterans, led by their teacher Betty Julian. A very reliable witness has testified that “this is absolutely spectacular!” In addition, the Mountain Cove Boys, who are not students at Thrasher, will be playing bluegrass, and the Tin Cup Rattlers, who may have been Thrasher students not that long ago, will perform old-time Appalachian songs and stories.
Shoppers will find some very cool things to buy. The Waldens Ridge Guild, raising funds to support the McCoy Farm, will be selling books, historic maps, and Signal Mountain Mementos, including the newest one honoring the Signal Mountain Centennial. Another booth will offer additional SM Centennial items. There may also be trees for sale to plant in honor of a military service member, and new U.S. flags may also be available, to hang with pride or to replace a worn one.
Parking is no hassle at this picnic. The main gate of McCoy Farm will be open for parking in front; across the street, St. Augustine’s lot will be available; and a shuttle will run from Pruett’s parking lot.
Contact the co-chairmen with any questions about this totally terrific event at firstname.lastname@example.org or (423) 280-0511 for Dana Stone or (423) 280-0803 or email@example.com for Paul Stone. Please notice that the word “email” is part of the address. Both of them will gladly provide more information.