Celebrating at our Annual Picnic

Community gathers together at Olin Park

On July 9, refugee families, OFDR volunteers, and other community members gathered at Madison’s beautiful Olin Park for Open Doors for Refugees’ annual summer picnic. “One of the things that we like about having this annual picnic is it’s a time for everyone to come together,” Sallie Pisera, an event organizer, said.

A full house at the pavillion
A kid scoring a goal

Gloria Hays

Gloria Hays singing and performing an instrument

DJ and musician Gloria Hays kept things moving from the start with a playlist of international music.

She then led an interactive session of international music. Early attendees were able to take part in the music-making.

Gloria Hays performing with a couple girls
Gloria Hays performing in front of a crowd of kids

Koffi Zoe Dogbevi

Koffi Zoe Dogbevi

Attendees danced to performances by Ewe (Togolese) drumming master Koffi Zoe Dogbevi and his crew.

Koffi Zoe Dogbevi and his friends drumming along
People dancing with one of Koffi Zoe Dogbevi's friends

Yid Vicious

Klezmer sensation Yid Vicious performed the outro to the picnic.

Pictured from left to right are Kia Karlen, Bob Jacobson, Geoff Brady, Greg Smith, and David Spies.

Yid Vicious on stage
Greg Smith on the clarinet
Yid Vicious on stage from another angle

Activities and Food

Madison Public Library passed out 100 “We Read” bags to children and adults and helped people get signed up for library cards.

Madison Children’s Museum, Keva Sports Center, and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center led kids’ activities.

Warda Bayda Artisans offered handcrafted knitted pieces for sale.

Kids decorate book bags at the Madison Public Library's table.
A cake with Open Doors for Refugees named on it
Kids having fun
Kids playing under a giant parachute
Kids playing with tunnel boxes

Attendees enjoyed potluck dishes as well as foods donated by local businesses including Origin Breads, Reverie Baking Co., Glass Nickel Pizza, Ian’s Pizza, Bloom Bake Shop, Madison Sourdough, Willy Street Co-op, and Festival Foods.

A girl getting food from a long table.
People choose food in the potluck line at the picnic.

Reporters from WKOW and WMTV were on hand to cover the event.

Ken Baun, a founder of Open Doors, accepted flowers and gave a speech.

Ken accepting flowers
Ken giving a speech

Seven volunteers
The picnic was a success thanks to the hard work of many volunteers, including our incredible coordinating committee.

Photos contributed by Will Spetz and Merilee Sushoreba.