Valmeyer churches unite for picnic - Republic-Times | News

Valmeyer churches unite for picnic

By on September 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

Brian “Boomer” Garleb mans the Blackjack table at last year’s Valmeyer Fall Church Picnic. (Kermit Constantine photo)

It has become an annual tradition in the village of Valmeyer.

The Fall Church Picnic brings together two congregations, as well as families, friends and an entire community.

“It really is a great day,” said event chairperson Brad Rippelmeyer.

The Sunday picnic, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., is jointly hosted by St. John United Church of Christ and St. Mary Catholic Church in Valmeyer. The two churches teamed up after each of their own annual festival had hit a roadblock.

“When we moved, we didn’t have the budget to have the same facilities,” explained Rippelmeyer, who served on the St. John UCC Board several years ago when it was trying to come up with a solution to hosting their traditional wurstmarkt.

St. John’s wurstmarkt and St. Mary’s chicken dinner were held two weeks apart in the fall to help raise money for each of the churches. When the two churches were forced to relocate following the 1993 flood, they no longer had the same facilities to hold the annual festivities.

“For some reason, driving home one night after a church board meeting I thought the Catholic church probably went through the same thing,” remembers Rippelmeyer, who said the idea for the two churches to join forces just came to him one night.

He presented the idea to the St. John UCC Board and then to St. Mary’s, who teamed him up with Cindy Roever to help make it happen.

“I would have never probably got it to the point it is now without her,” he said.

Now, the picnic is put on with the help of more than 100 volunteers, half from each church, and has helped raise-more than $100,000, which is split down the middle each year.

“We would love for more people outside of the community to come,” said Rippelmeyer. “Because (Valmeyer) is a special place.”

This year’s Fall Church Picnic will feature barbecued food, refreshments, children’s games, a country store and live entertainment throughout the day.

Sunday’s musical lineup includes Rich Cullen at 11 a.m., Robert Sonnenfelt at noon, Bud Light Brigade at 1 p.m., St. John UCC Contemporary Band at 2 p.m., Thunder & Lightning Cloggers at 3 p.m., and Pickin’ Chicks at 4 p.m.

Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.