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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:07:07 21:12:39

TIMES-SHAMROCK FILE PHOTO From left, Paula Mesaris, Debbie Orner and Sylvia Orner work the bake sale during last year’s bazaar at the Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Duryea.

The annual summer picnic at Duryea’s Nativity of Our Lord Parish returns next weekend and, according to organizers, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever.

This year’s event, the ninth since the parish merger, will take place July 12-14 at the Parish Picnic Grounds at Sacred Heart. As always, the family-friendly affair will feature its usual assortment of ethnic foods, live entertainment, games, prizes and fellowship.

The picnic will take place Friday, July 12, 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 13, 5 to 11:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 14, 5 to 10 p.m. For those worried about weather, there will be a huge tent on the picnic grounds.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, July 11, 5 to 8 p.m., the annual flea market will get a jump on the proceedings in the Sacred Heart Upper Hall, and will continue each day of the picnic.

Last year, the picnic was such a huge success that the food ran out on the last day. So, this year, more volunteers stepped forward to significantly up the totals, said organizer Jef Bauman.

Since beginning their work several months ago, the food preppers have churned out 3,000 halupki (aka pigs in the blanket), 700 dozen pierogies, and 2,300 pounds of potatoes and 450 pounds of onions for the potato pancake batter.

“It’s a staggering amount of food, but people eat every last drop of it,” Bauman said. “We really ramped things up more than last year, which was the most successful picnic we’ve had so far. Everyone said, ‘Let’s just make more stuff.’ So, it was a matter of just having a few more volunteers working at the right time and at the right pace. We always try to listen to feedback and make things better.”

Besides the aforementioned Eastern European delicacies, the picnic also serves up homemade pizza, porketta, sausage and peppers, Buffalo wings, volcano fries, steamed clams, pizza fritta and hand-dipped ice cream. There’s also a beer tent, bake sale, kids’ games, cash raffle, bingo, designer purse stand, tool stand and baskets galore.

As always, a different local band will take the stage each night of the picnic: Flaxy Morgan on Friday from 7 to 11 p.m.; The Sperazza Band Saturday from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.; and, back for the second year in a row and adding a true old-school touch to the proceedings, John Stevens’ Polka Band Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m.

“The polka was the highlight of last year’s picnic. It had so many generations of people out there dancing,” Bauman said. “I remember watching a girl and her grandfather polkaing around the picnic grounds. Without the picnic, they couldn’t have that moment.”

Indeed, that’s what the picnic is about — bringing the community together, Bauman said.

“Last year, we knew we did very well. But the first thing we talked about was how much fun everyone had. That’s why I stick around pinching thousands of pierogies and boiling pounds and pounds of cabbage,” he said. “You’re giving people a memory, a callback to when they were a kid. Our picnic is not about making money; it’s about bringing people together.”


If you go

What: Nativity of Our Lord Parish annual picnic

Where: Parish Picnic Grounds at Sacred Heart, Stephenson Street in Duryea

When: Friday, July 12, 6-11 p.m.; Saturday, July 13, 5-11:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 14, 5-10 p.m.

Details: For more information on the picnic, visit, or the parish’s Facebook page.