After 121 years, South Snohomish County Old Settlers Picnic canceled for first time

The Old Settlers Picnic at Edmonds City Park in 1953.

The 121-year-old South Snohomish County Old Settlers Picnic has been canceled — marking the first time since 1899 that the event won’t be held.

The annual event, which draws many families to Edmonds City Park each year, can’t be held given Washington State Department of Health recommendations against large gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said picnic organizer Chris Deiner-Karr. In addition, many of the attendees are senior citizens, who fall in the high risk group for virus.

Mark your calendar for next year’s event — on Aug. 8, 2021,

Local historian Betty Lou Gaeng noted that the first gathering of the old settlers took place in Cedar Valley (now a part of Lynnwood) at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Burleson on the first Thursday of August 1899. The occasion was to celebrate the 34th birthday of Mrs. Burleson, the former Della Bartholomew. “Everyone who attended had such a good time; it was decided to gather each year to celebrate living in South Snohomish County,” Gaeng wrote. The picnic was held at Martha Lake and then at Hall Lake, but when the Eisen’s family resort at Hall Lake was sold in 1944, Edmonds City Park became home for the picnic in 1945.

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