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Oran to mark 100th installment of July 4 celebration

Friday, July 1, 2011

ORAN, Mo. -- The popular 4th of July picnic in Oran will celebrate its 100th year when the event kicks off Monday morning.

The picnic was founded by the late Rev. Michael Helmbacher in 1908 as a way to get the members to work together and create parish unity.

With the exception of three years during World War II, the picnic has been held annually, first by Guardian Angel Parish. In 1963, the Knights of Columbus Post 4311 in Oran took over the event, continuing to the present.

According to Kirby Hahn, a member of the Knights of Columbus post in Oran, the Knights "don't want (the picnic) to change." However, the organization will also "try to find out what people like and do it," said Hahn.

One of the reasons for the picnic's popularity is its longevity. Cindy Seyer, a resident of Oran, said that the picnic is popular "because it has been going on for so long."

Although she was not born in Oran, she said "it's been a way of life for those who grew up in Oran." Seyer also said that a lot of people who used to live in Oran drive back into town for the picnic.

Hahn said the most popular event at the picnic every year is the meal. It will be served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday in the KC hall. The meal consists of roast beef, ham and chicken and dressing, with drinks and desserts also available.

The cost for adults is $8, $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children under age 6. According to Hahn, over 2,000 people show up every year for the meal itself.

There are also stands for burgers, sodas and ice cream open throughout the day.

When asked about his favorite event, Hahn said that he doesn't have a favorite event, but he likes "just talking to people."

Another popular function of the 4th of July picnic is the horseshoe tournament. The tournament starts at 1 p.m., with registration beginning at noon. There are no prerequisites to enter the tournament.

There are children's games available throughout the day, such as the fishing booth and Plinko. Also, wagon rides occur from noon to 6 p.m., and horse rides are offered throughout the day. Bingo is planned from 7 to 10 p.m. inside the KC hall.

Live musical entertainment is scheduled throughout the evening. From 3 to 6 p.m., Country Cousin Leroy will perform, with the Caney Creek Band continuing from 7 to 10 p.m.

The grand finale will be a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Pertinent address:

Oran, MO

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