St. Andrews Parish Picnic | Bowing Down Home


File: macdonaldjoe-oh-parishpicnics_M.mp3


JM – Joe MacDonald

KP – Curator Ken Perlman

JM: They were pretty busy in the summer time. There wouldn't be too much - There wouldn't be house parties but there'd be outside things like picnics in the summertime

KP: Would fiddlers play?

JM: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah. There'd be dancing saloons, and …

KP: What are dancing saloons?

JM: They're a rough place stuck up outside with a floor on it and overhead, they just threw boughs overhead for shade rather than warmth. You didn't need the warmth in the summertime – And ice cream festivals.

KP: Could you tell me a little bit about the dancing saloons? Who used to do that? Was it for the community?

JM: It would be for the parish, or for the school. It could be for the school, either the parish or some organization. Just take the Parish Picnic for example. They don't happen anymore, but it was a fund raising thing. And they served meals, good meals too. And they'd have those; they'd have a big dancing saloon and the music was all voluntary. People that could play just went and played and took turns and . . .

KP: Did they charge admission?

JM: Let me see now. Admission was only for the meal, but there was bowling alleys, they'd charge for that – Be only a dime or something like that. And then there was other things. People would come there with a hammer and drive the thing up to ring the bell.

KP: Oh yes.

JM: Wheels of fortune, shootin’ galleries, and there was admission to all of that but . . .

KP: The dancing was free?

JM: The dancing was free, yes.

KP: And this was to benefit the. . .

JM: Benefit the community. It could be the parish. There is a Catholic community here at

St. Andrews and then there’s a Protestant community at Mt. Stewart, and they have the Protestant picnic, the Catholic picnic and everybody intermingled. And there's no bigotry at all here.