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A picnic you can sink teeth into
For a few hours, folks in Trilby pick banjos, devour melons and toss horseshoes, just like in 1915.
By MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published July 5, 2007
It was no contest, but Roy Tyson of Plant City was counting his watermelon slices on Wednesday at the Fourth of July picnic at Trilby Manor Park. "I already had about four or five, and I'm going to eat about four or five more before I leave," he said.
[Times photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes]
[Times photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes]
Bob Dillon of Trilby plays guitar on Wednesday during the July Fourth picnic at Trilby Manor Park. The Greater Trilby Community Association organized the first event in the newly improved park.
TRILBY - This old-fashioned July Fourth picnic lived up to its billing.
It lasted just a few hours Wednesday at a tucked-away park where American flags lined the chain-link fence. A small crowd - some locals, some travelers - picked banjos and ate watermelon and tossed horseshoes.
"This is a beautiful event today because ain't nothin' like this ever happens to this community," said Shirleane Ross, a Trilby resident for 36 years.
At least not in many decades, anyway. According to the Greater Trilby Community Association, which put on Wednesday's picnic, one of the area's last documented Independence Day gatherings was July 3, 1915. More than 1,000 people, including the governor, attended.
This year, there were no dignitaries or proclamations. It was just about people coming together -- the black and white and Hispanic people who make this part of Pasco County so colorful and complex.
Dorothy Pedroza came with her husband and four kids from Lacoochee. She hoped more events like this would happen so she could tell her neighbors about them.
"A lot of Hispanic families, they don't go out because of the crime," Pedroza said. "They're limited."
Evelyn Williams, also from Lacoochee, sat at a picnic table and kept watch over her five grandchildren. She planned to sign one grandson up for Cub Scouts at the information tent.
"I think this is really nice, a very nice turnout," she said.
Under a cluster of shade trees, volunteers gave out cold sodas, bags of chips and hot dogs off the barbecue grill. Everything was free, provided by a handful of local supporters.
There was a whole trailer filled with plump watermelons. People nearby bit into juicy slices, poised in that familiar stance -- pitched slightly forward, elbows out to avoid the dribble.
Bonnie Exum, from Plant City, came for the music. She loves the history of the bluegrass-country songs.
"If you listen, they're telling the stories of their lives," she said.
Lyrics about faded love and cowboy sweethearts filled the air, backed up by banjos and guitars and even a Dobro.
Sheriff's Cpl. Dave Hink, the area's "Officer Friendly," made his way around the playground and picnic tables, stopping briefly to explain how a communitywide picnic means a lot in a place that's often associated with chronic crime.
"These are good people out here," Hink said. "We have a lot of fun."
Then he was interrupted by a kid tapping him on the arm asking when the softball game would start and waiting, really, for only one answer.