Mississauga, 28 June 2010: With anxious eyes scanning the Weather Network and frantic looks towards the skies trying to read between the clouds, brave Mangaloreans came in droves to attend the Annual Picnic organised by the Mangalorean Association of Canada June 19, 2010 at the Meadowvale Conservation Park, Mississauga. Despite dire predictions, the day turned out to be sunny with a slight breeze and uplifted the spirits and moods of all who attended. Children, parents, seniors and youth brought their picnic baskets, umbrellas, soccer balls and most of all, their enthusiasm and liveliness.
With the blow of a whistle and the blaring megaphone announcements, the festivities began with a Musical Arms game for kids 5 and under and Passing the Parcel for children ages 6 to 8. As the kids ran to “get an arm”, or they passed a parcel, a throng of people cheered them on. With happy smiles, some teary faces and eager hands, the children accepted the candy bars and gifts. The star attraction was the Bouncing Inflatable, a Blue Castle that kept the children enthralled as they bounced and hopped, giggled and laughed while playing in it. The 3-legged race tested the agility and balance of the teenagers who hopped, straggled or ran towards the finish line.
Not to be outdone, the adults participated wholeheartedly in the Sack Race and there were some grand and embarrassing moments as the participants tumbled, slipped and ran the race of their lives. The youngsters outdid themselves with the Lemon and Spoon race. Our seniors were not to be left out and they showed their enthusiasm and mettle in the Bocce Ball, an innovative and fun game that required aim and a keen eye. The Water Balloon Throw is one of the most popular organized games among all people and this year, there was a serpentine queue of participants. As the line up was formed, participants coached their partners on throwing and catching techniques. With much yelling and screaming and at the blow of the whistle, the balloons broke and drenched the unfortunate but the lucky winners were the ones who were able to successfully catch the water balloon without breaking it.
The main focus of the event is to bring the community together, make new friends and have fun in a family setting. In every game, there are winners and losers but at the MAC picnic, there were no losing teams. The volley ball and throw ball games generated great competitive and friendly spirits as spectator’s yelled encouragement to the teams. People participated wholeheartedly and enjoyed an aggressive game of throw ball and volleyball. The Tug O War contest is elevated to an Olympic sport at the MAC picnic as men and women girded their loins and put in their best effort. Men and women, children and teens did not hesitate to form teams and in a show of unity heave themselves to victory and the other team to defeat. When the gauntlet was thrown, the challenge was accepted – men against women in a test of strength, strategy and numbers. Women were yet again the winners in this sport of brute strength. An innovative and complex game bringing nostalgic memories of childhood was the ‘Breaking of the Modki’. Two ‘Modki’ pots were strung high above the ground and blindfolded competitors had to aim and break the pot. With the elimination round and 8 finalists remaining, a young determined man was the winner. The runners up were equally talented and happy to be the recipients of prizes.
The potluck during lunch was an amalgamation of a medley of dishes. With a prayer, lunch commenced with everyone sharing food and drink in a show of camaraderie. Bingo provided respite from the hectic fun and a time to relax and sit. Monetary prizes were awarded to the delight of the crowd and the winners walked away with a tidy amount. Tea and delicious slices of fresh watermelon were served courtesy of Paul and Irene Mathias. Our special thanks to Reynold Sequeira for conducting the games and bingo, Fr. Edwin D’Souza for Grace before Meals and Sr. Ferdinanda.
At the end of the day, tired but tremendously happy children, youngsters, parents and grandparents packed their belongings and left for home. MAC had fulfilled its objective and mandate - to bring the people at a common venue to meet and mingle and offer opportunities for our youth to have a day of fun yet show initiative and leadership. MAC earnestly appreciates the work of MAC members and volunteers who sacrificed their time and energy and put in great efforts to ensure that the picnic was a superb success.