In the 1940’s and 50’s, the Gardener and Rancher’s Association, an organization of Italian produce dealers and farmers in Portland, held an annual summer picnic called the Gardener’s Picnic. As the years went by and this picnic ended, a group of Italian farmers in the area decided to carry on the tradition of an annual summer picnic. The group rented Cedarville Park in Gresham for the occasion and the picnic became a huge success.
This early group of farmers eventually formed Club Paesano and, in 1975, they purchased the park and named it Club Paesano Cedarville Park. The Annual Italian Community Picnic has carried on every year with music, food, and games for the whole family.
This year’s picnic on Sunday, August 3rd will see some changes.
“There is so much competition in the summer with events and activities that we kept seeing our attendance drop,” explained Marc Battilega, President of Club Paesano. “We felt if we offered something new it might generate renewed interest in the picnic.”
In addition to the usual fresh-made spaghetti lunch, the event will feature a few outside food vendors, and there will be a beer and wine garden for the adults to enjoy.
In previous years, DJs have provided music for the afternoon. This year, picnickers will be entertained by Michael Maffei playing traditional hits on his accordion and by two local bands, Death by Thumb and Mbrascatu.
Face painting and games with prizes will entertain the kids. Bingo will be played throughout the day and the annual Jim Calcagno Cup Paesano Bocce Tournament begins at 10:30am. Individuals can sign up on the day of the picnic to join a team.
The park gates open at 11:00am and admission is only $8.00 per person, which includes a meal ticket worth up to $5.00 towards a meal at any food vender. Children 11 and under always receive free admission into the park.
This is one day to come early, stay late and enjoy the day with family and friends.