Picnic on the Street kicks off Wednesday

Monthly cookout hosted by church

Photo Provided MEMBERS OF the First Presbyterian Church, Walnut Street, Martins Ferry, tend to cooking the food during a past Picnic on the Street. The first picnic of the season is set from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

MARTINS FERRY — What started out as a church fundraiser has turned into a gathering the community looks forward to each month during the summer and into fall.

First Presbyterian Church, 400 Walnut St., Martins Ferry, is getting ready to kick off its first Picnic in the Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

For a donation of any amount people can enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and ice cream. Pop and water also are available for a separate cost. Proceeds benefit the church.

“People go about their everyday lives and say ‘hi’ to each other on the street, but during the picnic people are conversating and sharing laughs and getting to know each other,” said parishioner Pamala Chieffalo.

Other dates for the Picnic on the Street include Aug. 14, Sept. 17 and Oct. 9.

Chieffalo said many of those who work in Martins Ferry also take advantage of having a new place to eat at lunchtime. It is also enjoyable because it is outdoors with a section of Walnut Street blocked off for the event.

There is often live music. A 50-50 drawing also is held.

“People who normally don’t even know each other in this town sit down and have lunch and talk,” she added. “I think people enjoy everything about the atmosphere of a picnic. And we’re always available if someone wants to talk or take a tour of the church; we’re willing to do that.”

Chieffalo said the picnics are once again being held in memory of the late Alex Tunning, a parishioner who helped start the event with fellow church member Ron Yuterzuber, who can often be seen manning the grill during the picnics.

“Alex was a school teacher and he loved kids and he loved his church,” Chieffalo said of Tunning who died in 2017. “He had a real sense of community and bringing people together.”

Chieffalo said there not be a baked goods table during this first picnic, but ice cream will be offered. She said later picnics will probably have a baked goods table.

“We have a great town here. We are so blessed to live in a small town. … What better way to get to know someone than over some good picnic food,” she said.

Meanwhile, the church also is making plans to hold its second Hungarian Festival next May. The inaugural event held this spring was deemed a success, raising money for the church.

The festival included foods such as cabbage rolls, Hungarian-style sausage and goulash. Side dishes included mashed potatoes, cabbage and noodles, and cucumber salad. Homemade desserts included Hungarian nut rolls, kiflis, snowballs, poppy seed rolls and palascinta, which is like a crepe.

The first fest honored Hungarian-Americans Martins Ferry Mayor Robert Krajnyak and his father, Robert Krajnyak, during the opening ceremonies. The Rev. David Stammerjohn, pastor of the church, also helped conduct the ribbon cutting ceremony.