Seminary Picnic dodges rain as event draws thousands


If Seminary Picnic committee spokesman Randy Dickmann could describe the 122nd annual event, he would most likely say it was a successful event.
“We had good crowds,” he said. “Saturday was probably our biggest and best day, however I thought we had good crowds on Friday and Sunday too. As I was leaving on Saturday and was looking at the parking lot, I have never seen it so full.”
Bringing people together since 1901, the Seminary Picnic is the oldest festival in Perry County. This year’s version was open Friday-Sunday at the Seminary Picnic Grounds on Hwy. T in Perryville.
Dickmann estimated there was something in the neighborhood of 15,000-18,000 people who attended the three-day picnic.
“I thought that was a good number, given the heat and the condition of the grounds.”
Rain in the days leading up to the event left the grounds and subsequent parking lot muddy for attendees. Although Dickmann did not believe that it deterred anything as far as the event went on.
“We just had to have a little more man-power because people did drive on the grounds,” he said. “During the day it did dry out and by evening it was pretty good shape.”
Visitors ate home-cooked chicken and dumplings, kettle-cooked beef, slaw, cakes, fruit salad, potato salad, and various refreshments. The meal was served buffet-style and saw about 2,300 people served in two days. Numbers were up about 150 people from last year
“Numbers went up,” he said. “Anytime you can have an improvement, you have to be happy with it.”

Picnic-goers cooled down with homemade vanilla ice cream, as well as a new option this year with chocolate.
“It went over very well,” Dickmann said. “There is some talk about bringing it back next year as well. The board will have a wrap-up meeting in a couple weeks and we will go over everything and how it went.”
The Seminary Picnic hosted a rally of the Carousel Organ Association of America. The COAA is dedicated to enjoying, preserving, and sharing knowledge of all mechanical musical instruments and will have an organ on display at the grounds.
The picnic also offered live entertainment with the Burnt Mill Boys playing Friday on the main stage with Umbra on the Pavilion Stage. The Waterloo German Band played Saturday afternoon, while the Well Hungarians finished up the night. The Route 67 Band played traditional country music Sunday on the Main stage.
In keeping with tradition, the bingo stand was a major attraction for many picnic-goers with very little room left for stragglers who didn’t get there early. Throughout the year, well over 100 handcrafted quilts are sewn by the parish’s quilting committee,
The picnic, which has become a sort of Perry County Homecoming for those unable to attend class reunions in the fall, often sees classes from St. Vincent’s and Perryville High School holding impromptu reunions.
All proceeds from the picnic go back to the parish to support the St. Vincent de Paul schools and other parish activities.
Dickmann said things will get rolling for preparation for next year’s event soon.
“It will begin at the wrap-up meeting,” he said. “There’s no rest for us.”