Oak Creek to host 112th annual Pioneer Picnic on Sunday | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek to host 112th annual Pioneer Picnic on Sunday

Routt County residents meet for one of the first Pioneer Picnics.

— Life was a little different when the first Routt County Pioneer Picnic was held July 7, 1886. Only 763 residents lived in the county, which then extended all the way to the Colorado-Utah border. The picnic, originally organized around the Fourth of July holiday, was “the social event of the summer,” a way to bring the entire community together.

With life rapidly changing in the early 20th century, Yampa Valley residents wanted a way to preserve the pioneer heritage that defined the early years of the region. On June 14, 1904, the first official Pioneer Picnic was held in Hayden.

This Sunday, the town of Oak Creek will host the 112th annual Routt County Pioneer Picnic, continuing the long tradition of remembering the pioneer way.

“It kind of started out with people needing and wanting to visit with their neighbors and friends and community,” said Nita Naugle, of the Tracks and Trails Museum in Oak Creek. “It’s just a place for people to gather and to visit in the tradition of the old picnics and the new ones. It’s a time for people to get together and visit and spend time with their neighbors.”

Hosted by the Historical Society of Oak Creek & Phippsburg, which operates the Tracks and Trails Museum, the picnic will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Soroco High School commons, located at 305 Grant Avenue in Oak Creek.

A meat dish will be provided, though guests are asked to bring a side dish of their choice. The event is free and open to the public and includes an optional historical tour of the Foidel Canyon School, located at the intersection of Routt County roads 27 and 33. The school, built in 1925 and vacant since it closed in 1957, is currently being renovated.

“The picnic is a lot of fun from year to year,” Naugle said. “You see people you don’t always see. It brings people from all over the county and even from Moffat County.”

The picnic rotates location each year throughout Routt County. Last year’s picnic was held in Yampa, with the picnic scheduled to be held in the Steamboat Springs area in 2017 and 2018, and Hayden the two years after.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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