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Annual Hiddenwood Picnic marks 122 years

Submitted Photo The Hiddenwood Picnic is a family affair with many children’s activities, including the Stick Horse Race. Photo by Doug Wurtz.

MAKOTI – The Hiddenwood Picnic, a family event observing its 122nd year, will be held Sunday at the Hiddenwood Picnic Grounds, eight miles south of Makoti on County Road 9. All events are held beside historic Hiddenwood Lake.

Activities include an 11 a.m. all-faiths church service and a noon potluck or bring your own lunch. Coffee, water and lemonade are provided along with plates and eating utensils.

In the afternoon, local musician Daniel Starks will entertain on stage. Other talent is welcome to perform. Pie and ice cream will be available for purchase after the program. There also will be prize drawings, stick horse races, foot races and games.

Doug Wurtz, Bismarck, who grew up near Ryder and the site of the Hiddenwood Picnic, explained the origination of the picnic for a column titled “Friluftsliv,” published in The Minot Daily News in May 2023:

The Hiddenwood Old Settler’s Association was informally founded in 1903 by two of the original homesteaders on the south bank of Hiddenwood Lake. The lake straddles the McLean County/Ward County border.

The original intent was to entice area homesteaders to a new retail establishment on Hiddenwood.

The first year of the picnic went well. The second year not as well because of the blind pigs (illegal liquor operations) but the unsavory characters “were sent down the road” and the picnic settled in to become an anticipated annual family event.

From its third anniversary in 1905, the picnic had been a gathering place for area homesteaders and their families to be introduced to and entertained by local Native American families, a place for local and state politicians to present their visions and an opportunity for children to take part in games and races.Today, the annual event is thriving into its second century.

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