Annual community picnic event continues despite rain
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Saturday's rain may have washed out the annual Newnan United We Stand picnic and 'Youth Appreciating Seniors' community reunion, but there was still lots of food and fellowship to go around at the Newnan Housing Authority's Binion Court Facility.
Instead of gathering for a picnic, volunteers delivered hundreds of to-go plates of barbecue, side dishes and desserts.
United We Stand for Positive Results has been hosting the annual Youth Appreciating Senior Citizens Community and Family Reunion for 19 years and this was the first rainout on recent record.
It was also the last event to be officially hosted by United We Stand. The torch is being passed to the Dream Starters, a group of young men who have come together to help the youth of the community. Many of the Dream Starters were members of United We Stand as youngsters.
As always, volunteers Clarence 'C-Bo' Bohannon, Willie Pritchett, and members of the Newnan Classic Car Club were up all night smoking meat. This year, it was chicken and beef, and several of the Dream Starters came to lend a hand.
'When they came, we got to take a little nap,' said Bohannon. Pritchett taught the younger men how to season and smoke the meat. 'Hopefully, they'll be able to do it like we did,' Bohannon said.
'There were probably about 10 of us together cooking,' said Pritchett.
The ladies washed and prepared the meat, he said. Folks from the community made potato salad, baked beans, and a wide variety of desserts, from cakes to sweet potato cobbler.
More than 250 plates of food were delivered. Bohannon estimated it was more like 400 total plates, including the deliveries and people who came to eat.
Bohannon added that, in hindsight, some people did not receive plates, and he wanted to apologize for deliveries that were unable to be made, as well as for any confusion with the event being rained out.
Those involved had been watching the weather forecast, hoping the rain would hold off until evening, but instead the wet weather lingered, forcing the cancellation of the picnic.
At Binion Court, Glynnis Tanner of the Newnan Housing Authority thanked everyone for coming and led the group in grace. 'We're going to still want that observance of family and fellowship for all of us,' she said. 'We want to keep it going year by year. We don't want to stop,' she said. 'It's something we're going to pass down, from one generation to the next.'
'I am so glad to be back here again,' said Charlie Jean Wood, who has made baked beans for the picnic every year.
Newnan Mayor Keith Brady dropped in to deliver the annual proclamation recognizing the event.
The picnic, in its 19th year, has always received support from local businesses and the larger community. Cargill has donated meat for many years, while additional volunteers brought sides and desserts. 'We couldn't have done what we did without the support of the larger community,' Bohannon said, referring not only to the annual picnic, but also the work of United We Stand. 'I want to thank the entire community that supported us, whether it was just a kind word of encouragement or a sizable donation,' he said.
'We are a servant organization,' Bohannon said. 'Our primary objective was to serve the kids where they can come up with positive results in the future. Not all of them did the right things. Some of them did the wrong things but remembered what we had told them and got back on track,' he praised. 'The biggest thing we did was plant a seed.'
Even with the rain, 'we can't grumble,' Pritchett said.
All the food was enjoyed and there was great fellowship, he said.