126 years of faith and tradition keep the Leopold Picnic going

See you at the Leopold Picnic!

For 126 years, people have gathered at the Leopold Picnic.

leopold picnic
(Source: Leopold Picnic)

Each year folks come together to share a meal and fellowship with one another.

The rich tradition started in 1892.

The 2019 picnic will take place on Saturday, July 27.

Schedule of Events

Starting at 12 p.m. enjoy an Antique Tractor Ride, a gift shop, fish pond, games, homemade ice cream, and beer.

On stage, Zach and Simon Elfrink will put on a show from noon to 2 p.m., Grisham Spur will perform from 3 to 5:30 p.m., and Silverfox & Friends will go live at 8 p.m.

Enjoy all you can eat at the Old Fashioned Country Dinner.

Fill up on beef, fried chicken, chicken & dumplings with all the trimmings from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The History of the Leopold Picnic

According to Bobby Jansen, the picnic co-chair, chicken and dumplings were served as the meal to about 50 to 100 people during the first picnic.

“Inviting someone for a meal was one of the greatest things you could do for a person to share a meal with someone.” – Bobby Jansen

Today, volunteers serve more than 2,000 people.

They’ve since added 1,110 hundred pounds of kettle beef and 1,200 pounds of fried chicken to the menu.

But according to Jansen, the foundation remains the same.

“The common denomenator is St. John’s church. It’s our religion that has brought us here and it’s what retains our community togetherness.”

The parish was started in 1856 by 12 pioneers who migrated to Leopold from Cincinnati.

The hard-working, God-fearing characteristics of these German and Dutch have been and always will be the backbone of the picnic.

Wayne Thiele has spent year after year at the Leopold Picnic.

For him, and many others, it’s a family tradition.

“My mom worked in the kitchen, I got a job here helping her,” Thiele said. “…My grandparents were here, and I suppose their grandparents were here. And it’s that way with pretty much everybody out here. They’ve all had generations of working at the picnic.”

Jansen hopes the picnic continues for generations to come.