ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A family affair: Brainerd family summer get-together continues for 45 years

For the past 45 years the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren and the great-great-grandchildren of the late Vernon and Beverly Leibold of Brainerd have come together every Wednesday afternoon to spend quality time with family.

090521.N.BD.40yearsofpicnics2.jpg
The Miles family picnics Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, at Whipple Beach for their last gathering until next year. For 40 years, the Miles family, with as many siblings that can attend, have been having a picnic every Wednesday at a local park from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At the peak of the summer up to 50 family members attend the weekly gathering. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — It’s a family affair every Wednesday at Whipple Beach Recreation Area from the time school lets out to Labor Day weekend with school beginning.

For the past 45 years the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren and the great-great-grandchildren of the late Vernon and Beverly Leibold of Brainerd have come together every Wednesday afternoon to spend quality time with family.

The family has deep roots in Brainerd. Beverly Leibold will be 92 years old in November and has lived in Brainerd all her life. Vernon and Beverly had eight children, including Marilynn Puetz, Julie Miles, Melanee Strobel, Loretta Pohlman, Karen Kinney; and Kathy Eck, Dianne Villnow and Vernon Leibold, who have since passed away.

Miles, the family spokesperson, said most of the family still live in Brainerd. She has seven children, 26 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and all the families but one live in Brainerd.

Miles said anywhere from 30 to up to 50 family members can be seen and heard at Whipple Beach every Wednesday during the summer months.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This all started with me and my sister Dianne,” Miles said. “I used to do some babysitting and we hung out a lot together. And we started taking our kids to a picnic and then we started telling everybody, if they wanted to come, as all my siblings live around here. We used to move around to different parks, but we started it when our kids were little, and my oldest son is going to be 49 in November. So we've been doing it since, you know, all of 45 years at least, maybe more.

“In the last few years we’ve just gone to Whipple. All my sisters and their kids and their grandkids and whoever could make it would meet up, it is just something we’ve done for years.”

Miles said her sister Dianne, who passed away July 10 of this year, would get after them if they didn’t make it to the picnic.

“She made sure everyone knew where the picnic was, when we were moving it around, and she was the big promoter of the picnic,” Miles said of her sister. “We’ve done it for years and it’s been wonderful.”

Miles said everyone brings a dish to share and it’s different every week. Her sister Dianne used to always make no-bake cookies and all the children love them. She said her daughter-in-law would bring beverages and her niece and her husband would bring marinated chicken.

“It was not superset on what people would bring,” Miles said of the food menu. “We always have a lot of variety.”

The family would eat, go swimming and socialize for most of the afternoon every week on Wednesdays. Miles said they have created many memories over the past four decades, including the time when her oldest son turned 40. She said they all came to the park dressed in old outfits and had a “pill bar.” The pills were really candies.

“We have a lot of fun together,” Miles said. “We do a lot of family things together.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is nothing more important than family.”

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.
Related Topics: WHIPPLE BEACHBRAINERDFAMILY
What To Read Next
Area listings of agendas
A listing of area meetings and events in the Brainerd lakes area.
Calendar of events at The Center in Brainerd.
Lee and Penny Anderson's donation to the University of St. Thomas will fund a new sports arena.