Community to get annual glimpse at history during Redford Picnic

REDFORD The small community of Redford has come together each year for more than a century to share in a day of family fun at the Church of the Assumptions annual Redford Picnic. However, the event is more than your typical neighborly get-together its a chance to be a part of history. The church on Clinton Street will host the picnic for its 153rd year next Sunday, Aug. 17, with a chance to see the Redford Carousel. The 1890s Armitage-Herschell carousel has been a long-standing feature of the picnic since it was donated to the Church of Assumption in 1910, and is only seen by the public during the annual picnic. The structure maintains its 24 original carved wooden horses and four sleighs and is believed to be the oldest working one if its kind in North America. Others date back to the 1910s-1930s in places stretching from Rochester to Santa Barbara, Calif. The carousel and the Redford Picnic itself have both received recognition for their historical value. In 2001, the picnic was recognized with a North Country Heritage Award from Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, a nonprofit organization which documents, preserves and promotes the folk arts and folklore in the North Country. Three years later, the carousel was given its own special recognition by TAUNY; it was placed on the organizations list of Very Special Places, a list similar to the National Register of Historic Places. In a description of the carousels history posted on the TAUNY Web site, www.tauny.org, it states, Only one day a year do you get to see it, much less take an enchanting ride or two on it, for this is the treasured heirloom of the whole community of Redford a once-bustling small mining town on the Saranac River and it is well cared for ... The local story is that the church was given the simple track machine over a hundred years ago, after a traveling carnival went bankrupt and abandoned the carousel in town. In the midst of a typical North Country summer festival with games of chance, bluegrass music and lots of food the lines of riders, from infants to octogenarians, wait throughout the day for their few minutes of nostalgia. The Rev. Donald F. Kramberg, pastor of the Church of the Assumption, said both the carousel and the picnic have been a beloved part of the Redford community for many years, something he looks forward to continuing for many more to come. Its been a long tradition and a very happy tradition of folks in the parish and well beyond the parish lending their support, said Kramberg. Certainly, its a fun day. But, it also helps the parish with overall expenses and any major repairs. The picnic, which typically sees more than 1,200 people in attendance each year, offers a little of something for everyone, Kramberg said. Its fun for the little ones and fun for the big ones, too, he said. The annual Redford Picnic will begin at 11:30 a.m., with ham and roast beef dinners to be served in the church gymnasium. Local Fiddlers will entertain from 11:30-1:30 p.m., followed by Roy Hurd from 2-4 p.m. and Side by Side from 4:15-6:15 p.m. The event will also consist of a rummage sale starting at noon and several games offered throughout the day. A drawing will also be held for a $5,000 cash prize at 6:15 p.m. Winners need not be present to win. There is no cost for admission. Theres a lot to keep kids entertained, and everyone, really, said organizer Ruth E. Wood. We have a lot of old-timers who come to the picnic, we have people who even come from far away. I think its because its a nice relaxing day full of family entertainment. For more information, contact Wood at 293-7057.

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