Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association celebrates annual 'Pioneer Picnic' Aug. 17

Kelly Richards, left, and Betty Brevik made their way through the pot luck lunch at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association
Kelly Richards, left, and Betty Brevik made their way through the pot luck lunch at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association's annual 'Pioneer Picnic' last year.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association is celebrating its 102nd "Pioneer Picnic" Sunday, Aug. 17, in Pioneer Hall, built in 1923 and located at 20722 67th Ave. NE.

"In the years before the hall was built, the pioneers held their picnics on the grounds in a true old-fashioned picnic," said Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association President Myrtle Rausch, who touted the association as "one of the oldest of its kind."

The annual picnic is a tradition maintained by second- and third-generation descendants of the original pioneer families, who first gathered in a grove of trees on the Schloman farm for the event. The presence of politicians and other dignitaries from throughout Washington state pushed the attendance numbers for those early picnics into the hundreds.

This year's picnic will summarize the achievements of the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association, whose members have dedicated themselves to upholding the legacy of their forebears, who contributed so much to the development of the Stillaguamish Valley.

"This picnic is pretty consistent," said Rausch, who noted that the association again will honor the oldest lady and gentleman born in the valley, as well as the longest married couple with one member born in the valley.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. that Sunday, followed by a potluck lunch at 12:30 p.m. Afterward, the association will conduct its annual meeting and program, which will include elections of officers and the president's address on the association's past year. Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert is set to deliver her third annual report on the state of the city to the association.

Carl Moll will tell the story of his family, who were pioneers in the valley.

"I just love to meet with people and hear their stories about how we used to do things," Rausch said. "They have better stories than I do."

The association welcomes all, but does ask guests to bring dinnerware and potluck dishes to share.

"We've lost a few of our members," Rausch said. "I understand why we don't have more younger members, since they're still working, but it makes it harder for us to do certain things, when so many of our members are in their 80s now."

Rausch hopes to recruit more members, at a cost of $10 per year, and more volunteers, to help keep the Pioneer Museum open.

"It's fun learning about the history of the area," Rausch said. "Just three hours a month would be a great help."

You may call 360-435-7289 to RSVP for this event.

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