If you have never been to the Mountains Community Hospital fundraiser “Le Grand Picnic” you are missing a lot. Not only is this event a major fundraiser for the local hospital that overlooks beautiful Lake Arrowhead far below, but the grounds offer a tranquil setting for contemplation, prayer or quiet reading for the patients as well as the hospital staff.
Each year in the summer the lovely outdoor garden is filled with brightly colored tents and canopies, booths offering everything from clothing to (you guessed it) and many of the local mountain restaurants serve up delicious and yummy food items to guests. The tables are sent near the center of the garden so that the vendors (of which there were many this year) can space to sell their wares. Everything from food tasting, photographs, paintings and just about any craft you can imagine were available under the tents that lined the walkway. The scene reminded me of an exciting European market filled with people, brightly colored booths, artists of many different skills, food, music and great fun.(Think an outdoor market in Italy by a lake, with people chattering and greeting one another and tasting delicious foods from many booths). While it’s not nearly as large as a market in Italy, the booths on the hospital grounds are filled with various wares and the food sampling that is available (thanks to many local restaurants) reminds me in many ways of being at the Renaissance Faire without the low-cut bodices of the women. The large trees provide a lot of shade and looking over the edge of the cliffs that are nestled around the hospital is always a beautiful sight. Small boats dash across the lake, leaving a wake behind them. This year’s event was held at the hospital on July 26.
The Le Grand Picnic is a very special summer event and each year the proceeds go to a project or a desired piece of equipment that is needed that this rural hospital. Each year the excitement of this event, in addition to tasting all the delicious goodies cooked up by area restaurants, also featured an auction. This is where people “get serious” as they are bidding on trips, dinners at local restaurants and a huge variety of “high cost” items. Each of these events is a little bit different but they all have a lot in common: they raise a tremendous amount of money for the hospital.
This years Le Grand Picnic raised (are you ready?) $153,000….a staggering sum of money that was made by generous donors and then auctioned off by generous supporters.
If you have never been to this unique fundraiser all I can say is that (a) it is a fantastic fun event and (2) the money from this event helps fund a new piece of expensive equipment or something that can enhance the ability to help more residents and visitors that they could before.
Mountains Community Hospital began many years ago (in the 1950s) by the Sisters of Santa Anita Hospital. Throughout the decades,thanks to good planning, support of the mountain communities, including the property owners and the hospital staff members, while this hospital is a small health center the “heart” of the staff and those who so generously give in one way or another this event always shows the “best side of people.”