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Labor Day picnic returns to Morgan’s Grove

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Sep 10, 2021

The Rohrersville Band returned at Morgan’s Grove Park for the annual Labor Day picnic held Monday. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — A small, but dedicated, crowd turned out Monday afternoon to resume the tradition of a Labor Day picnic at Morgan’s Grove Park. The event, according to Shepherdstown Community Club member Mike Austin, dates back 30 years or more.

The SCC hosts the picnic each year, as a salute to Labor Day and the end of summer. In 2020, the picnic, like most other activities, was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“We are trying to get back to normal, without jeopardizing safety,” Austin said, adding that the gathering of about 50 individuals was only about a third of the normal turnout.

“We are fighting to hold on to traditional events,” Austin said, adding that such events are valuable, as they serve as an anchor to the past.

Folks who turned out Saturday were able to bring their own side dishes, as the community potluck portion of the event was discouraged. Goodies off the grill were available for purchase to help support the SCC, which owns the park.

As part of the afternoon’s activities, Mayor Jim Auxer was on hand to provide a rundown of town activities and updates. While he was not sure yet on the status of fall and winter events in town, such as holiday parades and events, he indicated those things would be on the next town council agenda to discuss and vote upon.

Del. John Doyle also joined in at the picnic, sharing a bit of Labor Day history, as well as information on the West Virginia mine wars, which helped lead to unionization of the mine workers.

The highlight of the afternoon was the return of the Rohrersville Band, as they performed music following the meal.

The band, established in 1837, plays at a variety of events year-round in their home of Washington County, Md. and neighboring areas. The band has not had opportunities to play together for more than a handful of occasions since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic and were excited to play for the picnic attendees.

The band traditionally played at the Labor Day event for many years, before schedule changes occurred. Their return to Morgan’s Grove Park was something Austin was happy to see, as he talked about the importance of traditions.

Auxer also spoke of how traditions sometimes fade and that he finds that a concerning fact.

“We don’t want to do away with traditions,” Auxer said.