Irish Picnic in McEwen Dates Back to 1854

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Irish Picnic McEwen, TN

It’s a celebration that traces its roots back to 1854. The Irish Picnic at Saint Patrick’s School in McEwen, Tennessee, is said to be the oldest continuously running festival in the state, and it’s not by the luck of the Irish that it draws some 25,000 visitors each year.

Hard work and dedication from parents, friends and family combined with some 21,000 pounds of barbecue pork slow cooked over hickory-bark coals make this a delicious and fun tradition.

The celebration, a fundraiser for the school, always takes place the last Friday and Saturday in July. This year it is held on July 24-25, 2015. Early visitors can enjoy their share of 4,200 chicken halves that will be prepared for lunch on Friday. Live music and dancing begins at 6 p.m. in the outdoor bandstand. Games including basketball and darts will test your Irish luck. The festival continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

For more information about the picnic and the school, contact the parish office at (931) 582-3493.


  1. Bill Rogers

    July 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I was fortunate to attend the Irish Picnic while a student there from 1945-1947. I was given a dime and was told to have fun while both parents worked. Cousin Phil Ross and wife, Laura, used to put in many hours. Hope you havea great turnout this year.
    GO IRISH!!

  2. Larry Baker

    July 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I have been to the Irish Picnic many times with my wife and children. We’re going again this year. It is the standard by which all pork shoulders should be measured. I enjoy Friday evening standing in the smoke and smelling all the flavor, then returning early the next morning to choose my whole shoulder. Thank God for good food.

  3. W. Susan Dawson

    July 20, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Best BBQ Sauce in the world. It is wonderful fun, the food and fellowship is outstanding. Keep it up Irish.

  4. missy

    July 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve been going for 30 years or better…the best Bar-B-Q Ive ever tasted.

  5. Janice Bass

    July 28, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    My husband and I come each year to enjoy the food and fun. This year I really loved the coleslaw that was served with the plate lunch. If it is possible to get the recipe I would love to fix it at home. This was the best slaw I have ever had.

    • Phyllis Bradley

      July 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Boil one cup of vinegar with one cup of sugar. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric. Pour over cabbage mixture. Makes one gallon. Glad you liked it.

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