The Evening Tribune August, 1891
Challenge Corn Planters Co. Picnic.
C. C. P. Co. parade route to Highland Park.
C. C. P. Co.
Pres. Sheldon Gives the Workingmen
of the Challenge Corn Planting Co.
a Picnic at Highland Park.
Three o’clock Friday p. m. President Sheldon of the C. C. P. Co., while sitting in his private office chair, suddenly pressed six electric buttons and in as many seconds there stood before him many foremen. Gentlemen, said he, I have been thinking of giving the boys their annual dance as now is the only time this year that the ware-house will be empty enough to have a dance. What say you? All thought the idea good, if it were not so hot. Well, said he I will tell you, we will have a picnic at Highland Park. What do you say to that? Well, if you had been in the office with the reporter and seen the hustling, telegraphing, and how they set their heads together and brought everything about as only C. C. P. Co. men can, from the hoary old skating rink heads down to the Planter masher you would have gone home and said to your people well I never; it beats all what live people do now a days right here in our town. The first institution that ever did anything for its employees in the shape of picnics, dances, and everything to make life worth living.
At 2:30 o’clock the procession of busses headed by the C. C. P. Co., band formed at the City Hall and proceeded en route to Highland Park. As it wheeled along Lake avenue it lengthened and grew and grew until it was one long mass. An aeronaut who had descended in his parachute remarked "when I was a mile above, it appeared as a long serpent slipping toward and into Lake Michigan." It must be things look peculiar up there. But it was not a serpent, it was simply a procession of the good employees of the C. C. P. Co.
Amid the booming of the Old Dod and the lively music of the band the people shouting entered Highland Park. Then did men, women and children rush down to the Beach, don a Walker suit and immediately plunge into the refreshing water of Old Lake Michigan. Others took an inside lemonade bath under a canvass canopy which covered a barrel of Ice-Cool Lemonade stirred up by manager Lockie who remarked that after the barrel had been emptied the second time that he filled glasses from the six inches of sugar collected in the bottom. Mr. Lockie insisted on having the same old flags which had been through the war ornamentally arranged outside the canvas.
The races headed the program of contesting sports: (See Sports & Recreation section.)
At 6:30 p. m. twelve covers were placed at the hotel for band boys, and though some of the boys were unmarried, Barnum said he would do the kind of act of representing the other two. By his appearance no one discovered that he literally devoured the contents of the three plates, except the band boys, as Barnum told them he had watched old Jumbo and got on to how to do it.
A giant pile of firewood consisting of a wagon load of board wood thrown a cross pile of huge logs excavated from the sand chained, hauled by Planter teams. A barrel of oil planted on top of this pile, at the pull of the plug let out of its bung hole a gurgling run of oil that saturated most every particle of wood. The strategic Mr. Bryce, sr., whose assistance is always essential to the success of everything, and who has no use for alcoholic liqueurs, did take the only bottle of alcohol which was being saved for balloon sponges and pour all of it on the fire wood in his eager desire to have a quick fire for the people, his only desire in so doing. The fire was the opening signal of the fire works display for the evening. the music of the Planter band began to draw the people again towards the Park Hotel and soon the seats of the auditorium were again filled as they were in the afternoon at the races. Pres. Sheldon who is the sole originator and promoter of these annual entertainments for the working men of the Challenge Corn Planters Co., stood grouped with the officers of the company, facing the auditorium, and exchanged expressions of appreciation with them. Mr. Sheldon says in all my travels and I have seen a great deal of men at work in a good many factories, I don’t know where there is a better class of working men as a rule than we are.
During the evening there was cause to be alarmed. Where is our Superintendent? Had he been drowned? Had he been pierced by a rocket or a cannon ball? No, indeed, the reporter on inquiry found Levi quietly entertaining lookers on as only he with his inventive originality can.
The reflection of the candles, rockets, greek lights, and bonfire against the hotel and the mass of people who occupied the piazza, balconies, porticoes and auditorium presented to all a picture of never to be forgotten. It was remarked by some that is was such a celebration that we had to back up that statement. It was in fact the best Grand Haven ever had. She fairly outdid herself.
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