The weather here has finally taken a chilly turn – not cold, but no longer easy bare-legs weather. So we are throwing our last community event of the summer: a simple picnic in the park. We’ve realized that you need a few things to make a community picnic work.
- Free food: While potlucks work with people you know, if you want strangers to come out, lure them with free food. We’re serving burgers and dogs, as well as chips, cookies, and salad greens. Simple, but filling and easy to store if we don’t get the numbers we’re hoping for. Our last picnic had 45 people, but we wanted both that one and this one to reach 100, so we ended up with a lot of leftover food last time!
- Music and games: Music is good for masking over any quiet that comes from low attendance or people still getting to know each other, and games mean that there is a specific thing to talk about instead of just immediately getting into serious talks about the state of the neighborhoods’ roads. We’re bringing bean bag toss, a silly frisbee game called Bottle Bash, and a giant Jenga set, since kids and adults alike can play those.
- Plan for rain: We are set for clear skies, but we’ve reserved two shelters at the park just in case we get any sprinkles, so people should be able to gather and chat under the covered area if we got bad rain. It’s terrible to do a lot of publicity and then have to change a date. Speaking of which…
- Publicize, but definitely invite one person at a time too: People respond to being personally invited, so we tend to get far better results when we speak to people than when we post on social media or put flyers on doors.
With any luck, this will make your next community picnic a good time for all as well – got any picnicking tips for the rest of us?