‘Picnic on the Plaza’ Thursdays start in Washington

  • By Barbara Miller July 3, 2014
Hot off the grill as Mary Helicke, right, Washington County chief clerk, serves up hot dogs to Scott Allen, his wife, Stacey, and their daughter, Emily Allen, 2, of Washington. This was the first attempt to serve lunch to the public on the plaza between the county jail and Courthouse Square Thursday as a fundraiser, prior to the opening of the Main Street Farmers market on South Main Street in Washington. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The Washington County Employees’ Activities Committee kicked off “Picnic on the Plaza,” the first of a series of Thursday lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that are open to the public in Courthouse Square at West Cherry and Brownson avenues in Washington.

Chief Clerk Mary Helicke temporarily changed her title to chef as she grilled eight dozen hot dogs donated, along with buns, by the Shop 'n Save store, 125 W. Beau St., selling them for a buck with proceeds to be donated to the Washington County United Way.

“We thought we’d spread our campaign out,” she said of the drive that typically begins in the fall.

The county is seeking governmental departments associated with a charitable cause to sell food, sponsor a cookout or hold bake sales at lunchtime on Thursdays as fundraisers. The redevelopment authority and Children and Youth Services foster parents’ support group have already signed up, said administrative assistant Randi Ross Marodi, who is a member of the committee.

Also invited were food and snack vendors who participate in the weekly Main Street Farmers’ Market. The game plan calls for them to set up for a few hours in the plaza, then move their operations a couple of blocks to the South Main Street parking lot in time for the market’s 3 p.m. opening.

“We want to promote the vendors at the farmers’ market but not compete with them,” Helicke said.

As the salty-sweet aroma of kettle corn wafted through the plaza for the inaugural picnic, Mike Becker shaved a block of ice at Tim Wu’s Hawaiian stand before topping it with guava or “tangerango” (tangerine-mango) syrups, just two of a host of flavors.

It makes a longer workday for Becker, who said, “Yeah, but I enjoy it. I like to be outside.”

Hilary Burchett Davis, CYS caseworker supervisor, is president of the county activities committee. Groups from within the courthouse or county government who are interested in selling food to benefit a charitable cause are asked to call the commissioners’ office at 724-228-6730 to schedule a Thursday through September. County offices reopen Monday after the Fourth of July holiday.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.


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