Since the creation of The Jason Christopher Wilhelm Scholarship Fund in late 2008, The Memorial Picnic has become a place to promote the mission of The Fund, and several fundraisers, such as basket raffles and other giveaways, have been added to the day's events.
There has never been a charge to attend the Picnic, and all activities are optional. Live music is performed throughout the day, and informal sports games are organized on the field adjacent to the pavilion. A portion of the entertainment program will be specifically dedicated to Jason, and Fund recipients in attendance will be recognized.
The picnic begins at 12:00 PM, and ends before 8:00 PM, usually around dusk.
A Vehicle Use Fee of $7.00 per vehicle is required by New York State to enter Delta Lake State Park.
Delta Lake State Park
8797 State Route 46, Rome, NY
From Inspiration To Tradition
The first picnic was conceived and planned by Jay Wilhelm in 2008 as he approached the five-year anniversary of his initial cancer diagnosis on May 28, 2003. A rapidly accelerating decline in health brought the realization that the picnic represented the last chance for him to be seen by family and friends in a dignified and cheerful setting. The planning and anticipation gave Jason one good thing to look forward to while enduring the ever-increasing physical toll that could not be slowed or relieved.
Sadly, Jay would not attend his party. He passed away just four days before, on May 27, 2008. As the mourning arrived to grieve and attend services, a common desire was expressed to fulfill Jay's wish for a celebration of his five-year milestone. The First Annual Memorial Picnic was held as he had planned on May 31, 2008, at Delta Lake State Park... a wall of photos and flowers, a mix of family and class reunion, a day of food and music, old stories with new friends, a crowd of faces filled with tears and laughter for JayCW. The overwhelming positive energy and opportunity for healing ensured the Picnic would be an annual event.
Delta Lake State Park, located ten minutes north of Rome, has provided an ideal setting for each year's Memorial Picnic. A secluded grove of trees surround and shade the pavilion, which hosts the entertainment, presentations, and merchandise sales. Bordering the pavilion area is a large mowed field large enough for several games of frisbee and softball. Walking trails allow a quiet break from the festivities, and a nearby public beach is available for a quick dip.
Fitting In A Day's Fun
Truckloads of fun arrive on the morning of the Picnic. After we find a way to squeeze all the games, activities, raffle prizes, merchandise, food and drink supplies, and music equipment into vehicles headed for Delta Lake State Park... we unload and figure out how to make it all fit in and around the pavilion. Here's a brief overview of what's in store:
Professional musicians and groups, from all genres and styles, perform throughout the day in tribute to Jason and his love of music with a free-flowing program of unexpected collaborations and reunions. A separate section of the program is reserved for more solemn songs dedicated to Jason, concluding with a combined performance of The Beatles' "Let It Be". Also, up and coming players are encouraged to show their skills in a tradition which Jay encouraged and benefited from as a young drummer. Due to the volatile schedules of working musicians, an exact schedule of performers and times is not possible.
Who's Playing This Year?
Here's who we have planning to perform so far,
NOT listed in order of appearance:
Check back often to see who else is planning to play!
More Than A Picnic
This event represents much more than a day of fun, food and music.
We hope you will join those who have gained something individually meaningful from the day's experience, lasting far beyond one day of fun, food, and music.