Corning hosts annual picnic Sunday

Photo Submitted The Corning Irish Heritage Center's annual "Coming Home to Our Irish Roots" picnic will be held Sunday. For a free-will donation, those coming to center located just south of Montgomery can enjoy apple smoked pork chops, baked beans, potato chips, dessert and a drink while enjoying performances by local music group the Rheas of Light and Carol Jarbo as indentured servant Maggie Delaney. Events run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also include a vendor fair, pony rides and more.

CORNING — Members of the Corning Irish Heritage Society hope to have a good crowd coming home to their Irish roots Sunday during the nonprofit's annual picnic.

Board member Connie Carroll said from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., the community can enjoy an afternoon of good food, live entertainment, shopping and more.

"The menu has been changed this year to apple smoked pork chops, baked beans, chips, dessert and drinks," said Carroll, adding the meal is offered for a free-will donation. "We will be doing our Irish coddle at one of our events later in the year."

In addition to the meal, the Rheas of Light, a family of musicians from Martin County will perform and Carol Jarboe will portray Maggie Delaney, an indentured servant.

Jarboe will share Delaney’s story of hardship while trying to find a better life in the American colonies. Jarboe’s husband, Frank, will play the part of Parson John.

According to the website www.parsonjohn.org, the Jarboes, after completing a little research, developed their characters. The character of Parson John is based on research on ministers of the 18th Century. Maggie is also based off research the couple compiled on indentured servants of the time. Jarboe’s Maggie is a runaway and wears an iron collar to designate her as such.

"There are also several vendors and we'll be offering pony rides again too," said Carroll.

Those making their way to Corning will also notice the addition of more picnic tables.

"We are pleased that Peggy Ryan's campaign to have new picnic tables sponsored by our membership has been a success," said Carroll.

In years past, tables were brought out to the sweeping green hills of Corning by the Catholic Community of Washington.

"We have 10 new tables that will have plaques designating those who donated them or in honor of those they wish to have remembered," Carroll said, noting the picnic will be held rain or shine.

Corning is a special place for those involved with the heritage society, including president Vince Sellers and Ryan.

"I grew up just north of Corning and attended church there often," said Sellers, whose family is of Irish heritage for the most part and whose ancestor Henry Fegan helped build what was then St. Patrick's church, now known as Celtic Hall. "Preserving our Irish heritage both in the buildings and in our memories is very important to me so that the struggles and dreams of those first immigrants will be appreciated for generations to come."

Ryan said when she and her husband were first married in 1983, they became members of St. Patrick's because they lived very close.

"The congregation and the priest were so welcoming," said Ryan. "We were members until our first child began school at Washington Catholic. We still attended many masses there until the church stopped having services."

Ryan's brother also lived in the rectory for many years.

"The church, the rectory and the grounds are a sanctuary to me," said Ryan, who recalls attending summer socials at the church as a child. "I'm so glad it remains. We are all stewards for a gem in Daviess County."

For more information on the Corning Irish Heritage Society or Sunday's picnic visit www.corningheritagecenter.com.

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