If there is one month that defines summer it is July. Long days full of bright sunshine, heat, humidity and packed full of summer activities.

If there is one month that defines summer it is July. Long days full of bright sunshine, heat, humidity and packed full of summer activities.

One of those activities people do in summer months is the picnic.

Whether it's a picnic with friends, family, colleagues or special someones in your life, picnics are a nice way to pass an afternoon or evening.

It makes sense that July, which is a month that has a lot of them is National Picnic Month.

Perhaps we suffer from too many slickster marketing types all too ready to proclaim a month the national month of this or that thing.

My point is that July is also National Ice Month, National Blueberry Month, National Hot Dog Month and National Pickle Month.

Seeing that list it's surprising that the marketing types haven't proclaimed July National Pepto Bismol Month!

July is a month for summer activities like the picnic and all the fixings that goes with a picnic. The St. James grocery, gas stations, other merchants and ice cream stores can supply the fixings that make a picnic special.

The question then is where to have a picnic. The marketing types have another suggestion for you because July is also Park and Recreation Month.

If you're going to have a picnic one of the best places to lay that blanket on the ground, or find a picnic table, or a grill sets at one of the local parks.

The National Recreation and Parks Association is tooting the horn of our community parks, "This July have your community share what they love about parks and recreation!

"July is a great time to highlight all the many valuable benefits you bring to your neighborhood – from health and wellness to nature to community spirit and social equity.

"During Park and Recreation Month, let's get everyone talking about the positive role parks and recreation has on our lives!"

The citizens of St. James and Watonwan County benefit from having a wonderful park system to have those picnics with the ice cream, hot dogs, pickles, blueberries and Pepto Bismol.

Our parks enhance a sense of community and tie the citizens closer together. People just seem to be friendlier when you pass them by at a park.

St. James has that wonderful, tranquil jewel of a small town park known to us as Memorial Park on the southwest side of town.

Up against St. James Lake, Memorial Park's grounds are well maintained and stylishly done. The park has antique lamp posts along the lake shore that provides a nice touch. There are bike and walking/running paths along the lake shore and adequate parking.

Memorial Park has great facilities for the picnic. There are two shelters, one on the north end and one on the south end, where larger get togethers can gather. The community band shell on the north end allows people to have a picnic and listen to the community sponsored concerts that are held throughout the summer.

St. James City Manager Joe McCabe says that St. James has, "Well rounded park facilities with lots of forms of activities available."

People who are picnicking can, "Play volleyball, disc golf and there are playgrounds for the kids," McCabe said.

In addition to the two shelters McCabe noted that there are picnic tables and grill sets scattered through out the park and the St. James park system.

The city website lists the following parks in St. James: Deer Park, Downtown City Park, Jaycee Park, Malmrose Park, Meadowlark Prairie Nature Center, Memorial Park, South Side Park, St. James Lake, Tiell Park and Campground, Toddler Town Park, West Side Park.

Watonwan County also has a nice park system. Parks that have facilities for picnics include Eagle's Nest Park, which is northeast of the golf course; Long Lake Park; and Kansas Lake Park.

A great picnic opportunity is coming August 1, when St. James holds its 'block party' that evening. It is a great way to get out and meet new friends and say hello to your old ones. The picnic tables on the north end of Memorial Park will be full that night, so get there early and enjoy a picnic.

McCabe says, "There are a lot of really neat things planned this year."
July - picnics, parks, ice cream, hot dogs, lots of other food and pepto bismol - ain't that America!

I've got just one other suggestion for the marketers when it comes to July, and that is July should also be National Bug Spray Month!