Date: October 27, 2002
Place: North Phoenix Mountain Park, Phoenix, Arizona
The day before the picnic it rained - a rare and much appreciated gift in the desert, but picnics and rain do not mix very well and there was some anxiety about the morrow. But Sunday dawned sunny with some fast moving clouds and, except for about 15 minutes at the beginning of the picnic when a few raindrops did fall, the desert air was fresh, fragrant and warm. Yavapai pavilion in the North Phoenix Mountain Park became filled with over a hundred guests of all ages. Cheerful Lithuanian music was coming from the loudspeakers, hearty Lithuanian food was being served, refreshing drinks were available at the bar, and everyone mixed easily making new friends and catching up on the latest news with old friends. The children had their own area, where they could decorate pumpkins and play other games. It was especially wonderful to see so many new faces among the guests - Regina Astrauskaite, Solveiga and Jon Basso and daughter, Karolis Butkevicius, Nijole and Vytautas Butkus and family, Faith and Kurt Cotter and family, Diana Dove, Jonynas, Helen Mansager, Aistre Mockute, Vilija and Bob Powell, Ina Rawlings, Sue and Rev. Steve Rutt (Rutkauskas) and family, Grazina and Doug Wade, and others. This was a very optimistic start of the Arizona Lithuanian-American Community's 2002-2003 social calendar.
The picnic was hosted by the members of the Arizona Chapter of the Lithuanian-American Community. We are especially grateful to the following contributors: Aldona Vaitkus and Ruta Motiejunas for the hot food; Gilanda Matonis and Aldona Vaitkus for the desserts; Rama Balceris, Ilona Budinavicius, and Maryte Tallat-Kelpsa for serving the food; Vytautas Reklaitis for stocking and tending the bar; Rama Balceris and Rima Reklaitis for preparing the picnic site; Rimtis Tallat-Kelpsa for selling food and drink tickets; Onute Fielding and Aldona Gencius for selling lottery tickets; Jieva Butkute and Aldona Vaitkus for running the lottery; Rima Reklaitis for welcoming new guests; Rimas Vaitkus for providing the music; Don Adamavich for raising the flag; Dalia Motiejunas and the Saule dancers for demonstrating Lithuanian folk dancing; and Juozas Budinavicius for being the master of ceremonies.