Denise Carlton, the Daily News Journal, Rockvale Historical Society, July 3, 2018
On Wednesday, the oldest ongoing activity in the county continues in the Rockvale community.
A grand tradition, the Rockvale Community Picnic is a neighborhood party of sorts, one with a lot of practice, going on since 1927.
The grounds of the Rockvale School first built in 1910 grounds are where this community gathers to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day. That building was replaced in 1927 with a brick building and the annual Rockvale picnic began around parent support of the school. The picnic is as unique as Rockvale and the maple trees planted to shade future events at the school grounds.
The first picnic started the morning with a horse race, which was not that unusual at community gatherings back in the day. Over the years, it has included plays and talent contests, bingo, field races, baby contests, and cake walks.
Rockvale Elementary School moved to its current location on Highway 99 back in 1992. The old school site was leased to the community by the Rutherford County School Board when part of the school building and gymnasium remained on the site. In 1993, the Rockvale Ruritan Club became the host of the picnic as a means to provide support for the maintenance of the new Rockvale Community Center.
There is a lot of history and community spirit in this par t of the county and this is a fun event. Everyone enjoys seeing those they have missed throughout the year, whether you come to ‘visit”, as it is locally called, or help put things on, or walk around. This 2018 picnic will be filled with the political crowd, given it is an election year. If you want to pitch a tent for your campaign, spots are available for a fee.
The focus is on raising money to support the community. There is food — lots of food — and live music. The adult softball tournament is scheduled again, along with a new corn hole tournament, children’s activities, games, hayrides, and a silent auction.
The Rockvale Historical Society will have its history tent and an open-play checkers tent for all ages and a “local Rockvale champ” checkers tournament. There will be a trophy for the winner. A community proud of its history, nation and of the men who served in the military during the World Wars prompted choosing the Rockets as the school mascot. This mascot name followed the school move in 1992 of Rockvale Elementary Schoo and will continue at the new Rockvale High School, opening in 2019, resuming this tradition after the high school closing 45 years ago.
Come to the picnic on the 4th, and enjoy the traditions of Rockvale with your family. People who attend the Fourth of July Picnic come from all over the county. Some old-timers come back and some new to the area come to see what it is all about.
The picnic activity starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 2:30 p.m., although the ball games finish later.Anyone interested in becoming a vendor, participating in the softball tournament, sponsoring the picnic or donating to the silent auction, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org attention to Laura Webb O’Brien, 2018 picnic coordinator.
If you go
The Rockvale community is located halfway between Murfreesboro and Eagleville on Highway 99. The 4th of July picnic is held at the Rockvale Community Center at 9972 Rockvale Road, just off the Highway 99, turn at Jerry Burns Road.