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A Picnic in Oak Grove


On this date in 1887, the Continental Hose Company sponsored a picnic in Oak Grove in Fargo. The Daily Argus reported that the event was very well attended. It was a mixed group. The Company counted Slavs, Germans, Scandinavians, English, and others as friends. The crowd was very amiable. The different groups mixed together without difficulty. Beer seemed to be the refreshment of choice. Lemonade was also available. The newspaper noted that men who had worked up a thirst on dusty roads had ample opportunities to quench their thirst. The smell of cigars wafted across the crowd.

The day started with a parade through town to the picnic grounds. Music was supplied by Rupert and Getchell’s band. The entire city was caught up in the excitement. Businessmen hurried to finish so they could join in. Stores closed early. The parade was followed by sporting events. The 100 yard dash was hotly contested, but the most popular event of the morning was pie eating. Fargo Jim outpaced the rest of the field by eating 4 ½ pies. The newspaper estimated that the average Fargo pie weighed two and a half pounds. Fargo Jim, it was said, increased his girth by fifteen inches.

Many prominent members of the community attended the picnic, and lunch was followed by speeches, and after the speeches, dancing. The dance floor was crowded, with Rupert and Getchell’s band continuing to play even as the stars came out. As the evening wore on, lanterns were hung from the trees.

There was one unhappy participant. The reporter for the Argus had to file his story. He walked back to the newspaper office to the sound of the band. He expressed regret that he had to leave with the party in full swing.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

The Daily Argus newspaper. Fargo, ND. 8/20/1887