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.
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.