Nothing says summer like a picnic — crispy fried chicken, tangy garden tomatoes, and thick slices of sweet watermelon. You won’t want to miss the annual Masonic Picnic this Saturday, August 13th at 6 pm at the Masonic Picnic grounds in Mocksville.
The picnic, traditionally held on the second Thursday in August, was changed to Saturday evening this year in hopes that more people will be able to attend.
In addition to the buffet of mouthwatering foods, there will be musical entertainment by the Hazy Ridge Bluegrass Band, and a bounce house and free ice cream for the children. Tickets will be $8 for all you can eat or $1 if you bring a basket of food. The event will be held rain or shine.
The first Mocksville Masonic Picnic was held June 24, 1878, and is now the longest running Masonic charity event in North Carolina. All proceeds benefit the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford http://mhc-oxford.org/ and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro.
This year’s event will honor George and Brooke Martin for their contributions to Davie County over the years. Judge Jimmy Myers will serve as the featured speaker.
History of the Mocksville Masonic Picnic
According to “The History of Mocksville Masonic Picnic , ” in the 1870s, the town’s three Sunday schools enjoyed picnicing together at the “Shoals,” where the town of Cooleemee is now located. On one of those occasions, John H. Stewart suggested that the money left over from purchasing refreshments be sent to the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford.
It was customary for the superintendent of the orphanage to tour the state with a group of the orphans and give concerts. In 1874, following a concert at the Presbyterian Church in Mocksville, Mocksville Lodge #134 made a $25.00 donation to the orphanage. Four years later, when it was their turn to provide lodging for the superintendent and orphans during their upcoming visit, the Lodge decided to host a picnic in their honor on June 24, 1878 and invited Davie County’s other three Masonic Lodges: Farmington Lodge #265, Jerusalem Lodge #315, and County Line Lodge #224.
In 1883, the “Orphan Picnic” was relocated to “Clement Grove.” In 1897, recognizing the Picnic as a yearly affair, the Lodge purchased the grounds to become a permanent location. Interest in the annual Masonic Picnic, which now was held on the second Thursday in August, steadily increased. The crowds increased from year to year, and fame of the Picnic spread far beyond the borders of the State. It became an annual “Homecoming Day” for former citizens of Mocksville and Davie County who were living elsewhere.
Although times have changed and people have come and gone, the Mocksville Masonic Picnic has endured the test of time by providing great food and great fellowship for a great cause.
The Masonic Picnic Grounds are located at 201 Poplar Street, behind the Brock Performing Arts Center. The event will be held rain or shine.
Photos of past picnics and photos of all things historic in Davie County are available online in the Davie County Public Library Digital Davie Collection. Be warned, there are tons of amazing historic photos in the collection and visiting Digital Davie may take up your entire afternoon!