Picnic in the Pasture: A Yazoo tradition

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

The Johnson and Tubbs families are true believers in giving back to the community. For the past three decades, the local families have organized and held an annual free picnic to show love and fellowship among neighbors and friends.

The Picnic in the Pasture has grown from a small gathering on family land in Satartia to a large event that attracts visitors from near and far into rural Yazoo County.

“My family loves to give back and see people happy,” said William Tubbs. “This picnic is all about giving back to your community. It just feels great to see everyone coming together and having a good time.”

The popular event first began as a small family gathering on an uncle’s pasture land on Smith Road. Eugene Johnson said he can remember always having a good time with family and friends during the early days of the picnic.

“The picnic was all about having a good time with loved ones,” Johnson said. “People brought their horses. We didn’t have a lot to do growing up, so it was something for us to come together and do for a day.”

Tubbs said he was blessed that his uncle allowed the family to gather together for a day of fellowship.

“We would always give our uncle a fruit basket or a gift for letting us use his land,” Tubbs said.

From there, Johnson and Tubbs said the family decided to hold the picnic each year on the second Saturday of each October. The timing was perfect because it aligned with the homecoming services at Perry’s Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on Perry Creek Road. 

Not only was it a day of fellowship, but the annual picnic was also a testament of neighbors helping each other. People within the community would prepare the pasture while other set up tents. A stage would later be constructed. Raffles and auctions were soon organized.

And the picnic grew into what it is today. But the memories of those early years are the foundation behind the success of the event.

“I can remember a lady from Chicago came to the picnic, and she had never ridden a horse before,” Tubbs said. “We finally got on her a horse, and she said it was the best time she had ever had. And all those years of seeing the city kids come out to fish and be in the country just makes me smile. They have the chance to get of out the city and have fun in the country.”

Johnson agrees that it is the young people who bring the most joy to him.

“Through the years, we have started focusing on the kids more,” Johnson said. “The times are changing, and the kids are our future. The picnic is about giving back to the community, but it is about the kids too. Give them some values to carry with them in life.”

Picnic in the Pasture is now held at Wells Ranch, located at 933 Wells Road, on Oct. 12, beginning at noon.

The day’s activities still center around the same values it began with over 30 years ago. It is a day of families and children to come together for a day of fun with delicious food, great entertainment and country activities of a simpler time.

“God has blessed us with this event,” Tubbs said. “And it feels so good to just give back to others. That is the joy behind this picnic….giving back.”