The annual Coombs Community Picnic on June 6 will honour the French Creek Community School, one of four elementary schools in the area slated for closure.
The event originated as a Strawberry Tea at the school back in the late 1930s and after it stopped for many years it was reactivated and made into a Community Picnic. Years later it was relocated to the Coombs Fairgrounds in order to use the kitchen and have a potluck.
This year the free event will be back at the school, honouring what the school has been over the last 102 years. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. people can walk through and look at memorabilia. This was compiled by volunteers Marlene Stahley and Sharon Cox-Gustavson from the Coombs Museum. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Community Picnic will offer free food, live entertainment and activities.
Everyone from the surrounding communities are welcome at the event.
Anne Raffle, on the event’s organizing committee, has a long history at the school. Both her mother and father attended the school, her cousins attended (and they were one of the original families that settled in the area in 1910). Raffle was a teachers’ assistant at the school and later worked as a custodian until last November, she has a grandchild attending the school and two other grandchildren who went through the school.
“There’s quite a few others like our family around,” she said.
A number of community members, organizations and businesses have come together to help put the event on, supplying the food for the free picnic, signs, chairs, coffee, activities and much more.
Marilynn Sims, with the Arrowsmith Recreation Team, said one of the reasons so many community members have banded together for the event surrounds the closure of the school.
“This could be the last one,” she said.
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. people can enjoy free hotdogs, popcorn and beverages while joining in on the activities which will be outside, weather dependent.
There will be live music by The Harmony Band, Gerry Barnum and Deb Ryan and the activities include pony rides, bouncy castles, button-making and face painting. There will also be a garden railway, a full-sized steam engine and free play on the field.
The 4H club will be on-site with a display, the BLT To Go bus will be in attendance, along with Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and the local Fire Department.
At 6:30 p.m., cake cutting will take place and the organizing committee will be honouring Marlene Stahley and Ingrid Tremblay, two committed community volunteers.
“They have been organizing and have really been the main organizers for this event and others for many years,” said Raffle.
People are welcome to bring their own picnic dinners, blankets and lawn chairs to the event.