Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

A glimpse into the past – Old Timers Picnic

Jack Story

Special to The Village News

A few years back, Hilda Roche approached me about taking over the responsibility of organizing the annual Old Timers Picnic, which is now called The Community Picnic. She felt if the annual meeting was to continue, I should be the one responsible.

Hilda and her friends had been in charge of this event for well over 50 years and felt the need to pass it on. I was involved in Historical Society affairs at the time (as usual), and it seemed to me that it would be a reasonable thing to give the responsibility of this traditional Fallbrook event to the Historical Society to assure that it would continue to exist.

I presented the proposition at a board meeting and it was approved. The Historical Society has been in charge ever since. The get-together has always been on the last Sunday in June, and in the past always took place at Live Oak Park. When the Historical Society took charge, the gathering place was changed to be held on the Historical Society premises. Everybody connected with Fallbrook loves Live Oak Park, and the change of the venue wasn't an easy one, but was felt to be necessary.

I probably started attending the first picnics with my parents, but I especially remember going there with my own very young family in the late 50s. In those days there were folks with last names that were connected with pioneers of the area, such as Clemmens, Ellis, Gird, Lamb and White, to name a few. These folks were the old timers in the old days.

Now, some 60 years later, I am the old timer that folks come to see and nearly all the names that I just mentioned have passed on. Marion Clemmens is the exception. The nucleus of the attendees at the picnic are mostly high school alumni. Sometimes there are those who arrive from distant places just to visit the old town again and hoping to see old friends.

When we used to meet at the park, there were many times when the count was well over one hundred, but in the last few years the count has dwindled some. Thus, in hopes of attracting a wider variety of folk interested in the town and its history, the name for the event has been changed from Old Timers Picnic to The Community Picnic.

For some points of interest, when the Citrus Association was still in business, some of the people associated with it would provide lots of lemonade. Oscar Brooks, who left Fallbrook to spend his retirement in Hemet, used to ride his bicycle down from there every year. He did this well into his 90s, and it usually made headlines.

The people who come like to eat, talk and hug. Special entertainment is not necessary. The date this year is Sunday, June 26, and everyone is welcome; the event begins at 11 a.m. Since the county recently outlawed public potlucks, attendees will need to either bring their own picnic or purchase lunch from a food vendor on site.

The Pioneer of the Year and Vintage Merchant award will be announced that day, and all exhibits on the grounds will be open. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Historically yours, Jack


Reader Comments(0)