History of the HKMI Annual Picnic
by Karen Cooper
The annual picnic has been a tradition since the 1880’s – perhaps earlier. It was initially held in the Hottel Meadow, and it actually must have been something like a tent meeting, because as many as a thousand people gathered for it. Upon occasion, the annual picnic was held on the Fisher’s Hill Picnic Grounds.
I suspect that if I studied it long enough, I might find that the event was moved to satisfy members who wanted to go to both the soldiers’ reunion and the Hottel Keller at the same time. The veterans all wanted to go to Fisher’s Hill, and so did the boys. The boys ran back and forth between the different units of men and urged them to tell stories. My grandfather said there were Union soldiers there too, and he would urge them to talk too!
A couple of my great, great grandfather’s went to the picnic. They wore gray suits, and the one who rode with Imboden had a gray feather in his hat! Phyllis Wright said her family said the Fisher’s Hill Reunion and the Fair were the two most important events in Shenandoah County. Trains delivered people to the area from adjoining counties and from the southern parts of Shenandoah County too! There was a bit of a carnival air to this gathering.