It is that uniquely-Louisville time again – “St. Joe’s weekend.”
Out-of-towners and newbies have surely had no idea what’s in store ever since the Crescent Hill fixture that is St. Joseph Children’s Home (2823 Frankfort Avenue) started constructing the maze of wooden booths across their normally picturesque front lawn several weeks ago.
It all culminates this weekend with the 161st annual St. Joseph Orphans’ Picnic, kicking off with a five hour test run this evening (5-10pm) with some open booths and live music. The real show starts Saturday at noon, though, when all 63 booths stretched across the campus come to life with food, beverage, and plenty of raffle tickets.
The picnic is a true tradition and community fixture, commanding over 3000 volunteers to take shifts at different posts throughout the day. It also has a reputation for good food – just ask around about the famous chicken dinner. (You can get yours starting at noon on Saturday until they run out… and they probably will.)
In the midst of the carnival of festivities, it can be easy to forget the important fund-raising aspect of this event. All proceeds from the weekend go back to help the home and its various programs for children. (Find out all about what St. Joseph exists to do the rest of the year HERE .)
Never been before or just need a refresher on what to expect? Here are a few tips to make the most of your time there:
1) Parking – There is plenty of FREE parking on the back part of the St. Joe’s campus that backs up to Lower Brownsboro Road, inside what serves as the picnic’s main entrance. Avoid the normal Frankfort Avenue entrance to campus.
2) Dollar Bills – Bring cash and a generous spirit. There is lots of affordable fun and silly gaming to take part in and all that money you spend goes straight to St. Joe’s.
3) Appetite – Whether you want the famous chicken or would prefer sampling from the booth fare, make sure you are hungry when you show up. Or just wait for the smells wafting through the air… That will probably do the trick for you.
4) Teens – 161 years in and still trying new things, the St. Joe’s crew unveils the Joe Zone this year for teens who want to spend Saturday night at the social event with their friends. Located just behind the main building, the Joe Zone will boast a live DJ and plenty of fun designed just for the younger crowd.
5) ID – Like any good Catholic picnic, there will be plenty of brew to enjoy. Do it responsibly and legally, of course!
Photo courtesy of St. Joseph Children's Home