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American Legion celebration makes first post-COVID appearance

Members and guests enjoy summery fare and live music at American Legion Post 42’s first post-COVID family picnic and celebration. Credit: Heidi Randhava

The American Legion Post 42 knows the recipe for a perfect summer picnic: start with a great location, delicious food and people to enjoy it with. Then, add games, live music and laughter.

More than 150 members and guests enjoyed the end result on Aug. 14 at the Post’s annual Family Picnic and Celebration, held from noon-5 pm on the Post 42 Patio and grounds of Canal Shores Golf Course – where the post is located above the Pro Store, 1030 Central Street.

Post members and guests enjoy summer fare at the American Legion Post 42’s first post-COVID family picnic and celebration. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Post members and their families were joined by friends, volunteers, area residents and active-duty veterans at the event. Tickets for the all-you-can-eat picnic buffet could be purchased on-site for $10. Food was free for children younger than 7.

Midway into the event, Post Commander Will Candelario and his wife, Post Chaplain Christine Caldelario, greeted guests at the check-in table.

“We’ve had a fantastic turnout so far,” Will Candelario told the RoundTable. “This is the first time we’ve been able to do our family picnic since 2019, so it’s our return from COVID. The band is just getting started, and there is plenty of food and cold drinks. Everyone is having a great time.”

American Legion Post 42 Chaplain Christine Candelario, left, and her husband, Post Commander Will Candelario, welcome community members to the family picnic. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Post members and volunteers were on site at 9 am, preparing classic picnic fare that featured a selection of grilled meats including beef hot dogs and burgers, venison burgers, Italian sausage and brats with sauerkraut on French bread. Picnic sides included homemade baked beans and corn on the cob.

Post 42 Junior Vice Commander Mike Wojciechowski and member Dorval Reed were at the grill until the last call for food. Reed said the corn on the cob had been freshly shucked for the picnic. The sauerkraut was made at Kolatek, a Chicago deli specializing in organic foods. The venison, Wojciechowski said, was from Nebraska and Missouri. Wojciechowski bottles his own small batch of “Must B21 Gourmet BBQ Sauce,” which was a crowd-pleaser at the event.

The Canal Jumpers entertain guests with live music at the American Legion Post 42 family picnic and celebration. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Guests of all ages were entertained by live music from The Canal Jumpers while enjoying their favorite summer foods and relaxing in the beautiful outdoor setting shared by American Legion Lost 42 and Canal Shores Golf Course.

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization. Post 42 meetings are held the 1st Thursday of the month. All who are currently on active duty, are serving the United States honorably anywhere in the world or who have served honorably during any of the eligible war eras are invited to renew their membership in the American Legion.

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