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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
The Women’s Board Annual Picnic and Bazaar, an Olney summertime tradition, will return July 23 for its 99th year.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the thrift shop grounds at the corner of Olney-Sandy Spring Road (Route 108) and Prince Philip Drive.
“Everything is moving forward — we’ve purchased the chicken and the corn, the books have been collected, we are sorting and pricing the jewelry,” said Dee Hawkins, who co-chairs the event with Christine Hill-Wilson.
After 99 years, event organizers do not feel the need to make many changes.
While next year’s centennial event will likely feature special additions, organizers are sticking to “tried and true” this year.
“Some details may change, but the things that people have come to love will stay the same, like the cornhusking and the fried chicken,” Women’s Board President Karen Nordstrom said.
A rich tradition
The annual Picnic and Bazaar has been celebrated since the inception of Montgomery General Hospital, now known as MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.
It began as the “Hospital Supper,” raising $1,000 in 1920.
Throughout the years it continued to grow, from “The Supper & Bazaar” held at Sherwood High School to the annual “Picnic & Bazaar” held on the old hospital grounds.
Hawkins said generations have come and gone and the community has changed in many ways, but the strong support for the event remains.
“Through all the changes, we are still here doing what we’ve been doing for 99 years,” she said.
Hawkins said there are a few new members of the Women’s Board with young children who are excited to be a part of the Picnic and Bazaar.
“It touches the core of people who want to be a part of what we do for the community and for our community’s hospital,” she said. “Everything we do for the hospital benefits the community.”
Nordstrom said the Women’s Board sees the Picnic and Bazaar as not only a fundraising opportunity, but also a way to reach out to the community.
All funds raised support Women’s Board pledges made to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and its scholarship program for students pursuing a degree in health care.
Funds raised from this year’s event will go towards a $2 million pledge the Women’s Board recently made to renovate the patient surgical waiting area, renovate existing space on the third floor offering inpatient/outpatient treatment for pulmonary patients, and fully renovate the board’s thrift shop.
“The Women’s Board Picnic & Bazaar has been a fixture in the Olney events calendar for 99 years,” Danielle DeVeau Crawford, MedStar Montgomery vice president of philanthropy said. “It means a great deal to everyone in the community and at the hospital. We are extremely proud of this event and we are grateful for the dedication and passion of the Women’s Board members.”
She lauded the Women’s Board for its “loyalty and the transformational generosity” over the years.
Organizers are already starting to think about next year’s 100th event.
“Ninety-nine years is a long time to do an event,” Nordstrom said. “We’ve managed for 99 years and hopefully will continue for another 99. It’s a tradition.”
The fun continues
Headlined by the fried chicken made from the same secret recipe used for decades, the event will also offer corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbeque and other picnic fare.
In addition to food, there will be plenty to do. Booths will feature books, baked goods, toys and stuffed animals, antiques, jewelry, plants and fresh produce.
There is a one new attraction this year — a Quilt Booth, offering quilts, vintage linens, fabric, books and other quilting-related items, even a sewing machine.
Kiddieland will returns with moonbounces, spin-art, bubbles, inflatable basketball and lots of games, prizes and activities.
Entertainment will be provided by local performers throughout the day, ending with a concert by the Olney Community Band.
This year’s raffle prizes include four tickets to “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts 1 & 2” at the Lyric Theater in New York City plus a $350 gift card (value $1,500); dinner for two at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va. (value $610); and four tickets to Waredaca Brewery’s True Brew Trail Ride and wine tasting for four at the Olney Winery (value $300).
Raffle tickets are $5 each or seven for $25 and can be purchased in advance at the hospital gift shop or at the event.
Organizers say the event offers something for everyone and are hoping for another large turnout.
“It’s a great day with plenty of food, excitement and entertainment,” Nordstrom said. “We are really looking forward to it. Hopefully it won’t be too hot and there will be no rain. We do encourage the community to come spend the day, to support the Women’s Board and the hospital.”
Volunteers are needed. Sign up at www.signupgenius.com/go/8050e4eaeaf28a1f85-womens.
For more information on the raffle, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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