"Picnicking" in New York

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"We're going to the picnic in New York!" shouted Ray Palmer, at Union Station in Meridian Tuesday morning. He is one of a group on its way to New York City for the annual Meridianites, to see old friends and meet some new ones.

"I thought it would be nice to just take this time off from my job and go up there to check out a few relatives, friends, and mix and mingle with the rest of the people," said Palmer.

And there were sixty more riding Amtrak to New York with Palmer,
from Meridian, Jackson, and even as far away as Birmingham. The group is ready for what has turned into something much larger than a simple picnic. It's more of a national family reunion.

"It's a convention picnic," said Irene Wade. "The activities begin on Thursday evening and we will be at La Guardia Crown Plaza, in Queens."

The annual Meridianites Picnic started with eight founders, originally from Meridian, who had relocated to Chicago and Detroit.

Since then, it's grown into a huge event involving thousands of people.

"We've been doing this all these years. And every five years, it comes back to Meridian, and it will be in 2004, next year," Wade said.

And if you can measure it by the last time it was here, in 1999, next year's picnic should be enormous.