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Until about 1900, picnic announcements identified the event as the Masonic Picnic and Reunion of Confederate Soldiers. Veterans continued on the program as late as 1904. Children from the orphanage sang and performed skits, and area bands played concerts. Speakers have addressed the Picnic since 1879. For about 30 years from 1892, an excursion train delivered attendees from Winston-Salem. The Davie Record estimated attendance in 1916 at 10,000 people, with only half choosing to purchase the gate or dinner tickets. The others congregated in the woods along the railroad line outside the fenced arbor and visited with friends and family, spreading their picnic dinners on the ground.

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