Toole, Stephen - School picnics in southwestern Queens County | Bowing Down Home
ST – Stephen Toole
KP – Curator Ken perlman
ST: And then there was another type of thing on the island here, was Lawn Parties in the summertime. Now, my father and my brother done a lot of playing at lawn parties. There'd be a lawn party in, well, pretty near every community in the summertime. There be one in probably, Green Road, there'd be one in Bonshaw, there'd be one in Churchill, Riverdale, all the surrounding areas, they'd all have a lawn party. That would be probably in aid of the Rural School that was in the community. And there'd be dances at the lawn parties.
KP: What would happen at a lawn party?
ST: Well, there'd be in ice‑cream tent, and there'd be dances. You'd pay ten cents a dance on the floor.
KP: Someone would be there collecting tickets?
ST: Right, a dime for a dance. So every gentlemen on the floor paid a dime, and that's the way they made their money.
KP: Women went free?
KP: And, again it would be the Lancers and the sets?
ST: Yes, right.
KP: And, how would the music be provided?
ST: In the late 30s and 40s, there might be a guitar, but as I say, if there was an organ in the community, they'd bring it in, put it in the tent for the night for the dance.
KP: How many fiddlers would they have?
ST: Oh, if there was five or six fiddlers there, each one would take a turn.
KP: Would the fiddlers donate their services?
ST: Yes, right. It was good entertainment, lots of fun. So probably the dance would start at nine o'clock, and it would run to one: probably run away with ten dances.
KP: Where would these take place?
ST: They built a tent, an outside tent.
KP: Would it be on the church lawn?
ST: It could be on the school lawn, maybe at the church but mostly at the schools.
KP: Was there any other way they would make money at these events, besides tickets for the dance?
ST: Well, whatever they made on the tent for the ice‑cream, cider, and chocolate bars and things like that.
KP: What happened to these events, did they just stop doing them?
ST: Right, Well, they didn't have any school to support. After the high schools come in, there was no rural schools. And then they’d have a Church Picnic pretty near in every community on the island, and there's entertainment at them; probably some of them dances that night after the suppers were over.
KP: This was in the old days?
ST: Well this still goes on today.
KP: But this was also true in the old days.
ST: Yes, right, Yeah.