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Mt. Pleasant Schools and Community Picnic is Tuesday

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:10 p.m.
A.J. Panian | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society Treasurer Dee Thomas arranges some of the items to be included in gift baskets to be offered at the Mt. Pleasant Schools and Community Picnic scheduled to take place Tuesday at Idlewild and Soak Zone Park in Ligonier Township.

The Mt. Pleasant Schools and Community Picnic will take place Tuesday at Idlewild and Soak Zone in Ligonier Township.

The event is sponsored by the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society.

Park gates will open at 10:30 a.m.

A free drawing will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the main stage area. Those who enter must be present to win.

Richard Snyder, chairman of the society's board of directors, said recently that money collected from ticket sales aids in the purchase of merchandise for the drawing.

The money also helps to cover the society's operating expenses and costs associated with completion of renovations to the Overly House on Washington Street in the borough.

The house will eventually serve as headquarters for the society, he said.

“Tickets are moving I'd say moderately now. They're not heavy, but they're not slow,” Snyder said. “I don't know if people are waiting for the last minute.”

The society's goal is to sell between 1,000 and 1,500 tickets.

“We'd make $2,500 on 1,000 tickets sold, and some of that would be put back into the drawing,” Snyder said.

Each year, the society spends more than $1,000 on the drawing, which features a variety of prizes for those who attend the event, he said.

“We have other donations and other merchants and organizations give us door prizes, gift baskets and gift certificates,” Snyder said.

Society treasurer Dolores “Dee” Thomas and fellow society member Donna Minick have been preparing the gift baskets, which contain $50 worth of merchandise on average, Thomas said.

“They have been invaluable in getting these things together,” said Snyder of Thomas and Minick.

The Mt. Pleasant Township Lion's Club donated a lounge chair for the giveaway, Snyder said.

In addition, the Mt. Pleasant Township board of supervisors again will donate a bicycle to be awarded during the drawing, Snyder said.

Aside from the drawing, money raised will be used to continue upgrades to the Overly House, including installation of light fixtures and enhancements to the cabin's woodwork and trim, Snyder said.

“With the Overly House, we're probably about $3,000 away from finishing the (renovation) project,” he said.

Snyder said the society took over sponsorship of the annual picnic at the park from the Laurel Highlands Chamber of Commerce in 2002.

The event has been held every year since the late 1940s, Snyder said.

“Back then, picnic day was a big thing in Mt. Pleasant. The stores would close and the ones that couldn't close altogether would close early,” Snyder said.

Snyder's wife, Twila, recalled traveling with her family to Idlewild by train in the 1950s when she was a girl growing up in Ruffsdale.

She and her family would walk roughly one mile from their home to Tarrs, where they would catch the train straight to park, a trip which took about an hour, she said.

“We got off (the train) right at the (park's) merry-go-round,” Twila Snyder said.

While the train no longer runs to Idlewild, the merry-go-round still turns and the Mt. Pleasant area community is still welcome, Snyder said.

“Tickets will be available the day of the picnic. And they can even buy them after for use for the rest of the summer,” he said.

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or