Pat

dr.com 2012 Autumn Picnic, Sunday, October 28, noon-6pm, Fort Hunt Park Area C-2

154 posts in this topic

Please feel free to discuss also.

I don't like the sponsorship idea. I didn't like it before and I don't like it now. When someone in the industry who belongs to the site brings food to the picnic, that's great. I recall Antonio Burrell coming to the picnic with his family and bringing food, and that was really cool. (I can't recall how many times he's attended, but this one particular time, I recall my husband having an enjoyable conversation with his family).

The time the picnic had sponsors, the food was prepared and dropped off. Perhaps there were people accompanying some of it, but it doesn't stand out in my mind. It felt like restaurants had been strong-armed into sending food. I'm sure that's not what happened, but it felt to me like they thought they had to do it. Maybe I'm the only person who reacted that way, but that's the way I felt. The food they sent was good, but I didn't care for the whole thing.

It doesn't seem like restaurants need PR when we're just talking about the members of this site. It's not like some restaurant no one has ever heard of is going to be showing up at the picnic. I like that the very talented members of the site bring food, and sometimes it's the very simplest dishes I enjoy the most.

There are numerous events at restaurants for the members of the site. The picnic is for members and their friends and family. I don't like the idea of commercializing it.

As to the other relevant element, I have a hard time knowing if I will be around to attend if it's announced two months in advance. I have no clue about my schedule (or my husband's) four months from now. I know reserving early is good to get the particular picnic site, and maybe other people know their schedules much better.

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Respectful of all comments above, I see the benefits of honoring tradition. I am also a huge fan of innovation and experimenting with different methods.

Consider the possibility that for 2012, for one of the two picnics, it's a bigger and splashier event. If it goes well, fantastic. If there are negative consequences, either planned or unplanned, those can inform the decision for the 2013 picnics.

  • Is there a worry that such an experiment would forever taint the future of DR?

  • Or is it more of a sense of an opportunity lost via a temporary reduction of intimacy and connection during this one event? For instance, long-term members having to weed through the masses to find their friends; newer members not being able to quickly identify other members; less diversity of exceptional homemade goods because home chefs put forth less effort (perceptions of feeding strangers rather than friends), etc. That first question is probably less of a solvable challenge; a show-stopper. For this second question, wise choices of event logistics could probably address.

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I wasn't a member at DR for the last sponsored picnic so I have no idea how that affected the dynamics of the event. That said, I'm willing to see what happens if the fall picnic is sponsored and I do hope that the good people who work at the restaurants that sponsor will join us for the afternoon. As noted above, the presence of the people is more important than the presence of their food.

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I founded this website in April, 2005 precisely because eGullet began trying to dictate their own policies onto social events - I decided the members needed a place to be free to get together and organize their own events. The last thing that I want to become is what eGullet became in 2004.

If Pat, Jackie, and perhaps Kriste and Linda - all of whom are integral to this website - have reservations, then that's good enough for me. I was merely trying to prime the pump of what I clearly see to be a dying Events and Gatherings forum, eviscerated primarily by the advent of Facebook, but if people are happy the way things are, then that's okay with me.

So I'm happy to step aside, stick to running the website, and let everyone do this on their own - if there's anything I can do to help organize, let me know.

Cheers,

Rocks

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I wasn't trying to kill the idea - I just honestly don't know what a sponsorship would mean in terms of how things work. I wanted to be informed before making an informed decision. Unusual inside the beltway, but not unprecedented. :)

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I wasn't trying to kill the idea - I just honestly don't know what a sponsorship would mean in terms of how things work. I wanted to be informed before making an informed decision. Unusual inside the beltway, but not unprecedented. :)

I was thinking, you know, a volleyball net, maybe an acoustic jazz band, a clown or magician and an activity organizer for the kids, accoutrements for a pig roast, help with prep and clean-up, balloons and decorations, a dunking booth for me - stuff like that.

I'm not worried about this; I was only trying to help.

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I was thinking, you know, a volleyball net, maybe an acoustic jazz band, a clown or magician and an activity organizer for the kids, accoutrements for a pig roast, help with prep and clean-up, balloons and decorations, a dunking booth for me - stuff like that.

I'm not worried about this; I was only trying to help.

Something like that probably could not be done at our usual site. That cannot be rented for any commercial use, including collecting voluntary cash donations on-site. The prohibitions are pretty expansive, and there's also a limit to the number of people who can be accommodated.

The dunking booth sounds fun :P .

ETA: This is from the website:

Know Before You Go

Picnic area reservations require a permit, outlining rules for Fort Hunt, and are issued by the National Park Service. The reservation confirmation email will serve as the permit and is required on the park premises at all times. Failure to adhere to park rules may result in removal from the park.

Permits are not issued for commercial use operations. This includes collecting fees; selling food, beverages, or merchandise; fund-raising; selling raffle tickets; paying caterers; etc, while on the park grounds.

The permit is valid from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, providing exclusive use of the picnic area reserved. Restrooms at all picnic areas and the playground will remain open to the public at all times. The permit allows alcohol (beer and wine) to be served between those hours. Please note that caterers must have an ABC banquet license from the state of Virginia.

One reservation per person or group per day may be made for one picnic area at the park.

All picnic areas have a maximum capacity; not to be exceeded.

Noise levels should be kept to a minimum in consideration of neighboring homes and picnic areas.

Vehicles must remain on the paved loop road, parking lots, and in designated loading zones.

Objects that penetrate the ground, such as wire sign holders, volleyball poles, or tent stakes are not allowed.

Park water is available for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Using water recreationally for water balloons and squirt guns is prohibited.

Motorized, wind-propelled recreational devices and skateboards are not allowed in the park.

Pets must be on a 6-foot leash (or shorter) and waste removed.

Firewood, exotic plants and exotic animals are prohibited in the park.

Permittees causing damage to the park (beyond what is reasonably inherent in its use) can be held financially liable.

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Hey, any picnic is a good picnic! I'll be there regardless, because I live close by & I love to meet people that frequent this site, I also have lots of outdoor cooking gear (thanks to the fall picnic w/ the bacon tasting in the downpour) & I love to break it out (& make my kids help me load & unload). Whether we have sponsorship or not, there's more than enough delicious food to go around, it's just a matter of pacing yourself, to avoid biliousness...

As for the date, too difficult to settle on a date now, although I have been known to jettison children (during their last game of the year, no less) to go to the picnic. I tasted my first Martian Pig Slop this year...& I also think the dunk tank is an inspired idea- Don, if you volunteer, we can probably cover the next few picnics....(but clowns or magicians are creepy).

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Hey, any picnic is a good picnic! I'll be there regardless, because I live close by & I love to meet people that frequent this site, I also have lots of outdoor cooking gear (thanks to the fall picnic w/ the bacon tasting in the downpour) & I love to break it out (& make my kids help me load & unload). Whether we have sponsorship or not, there's more than enough delicious food to go around, it's just a matter of pacing yourself, to avoid biliousness...

As for the date, too difficult to settle on a date now, although I have been known to jettison children (during their last game of the year, no less) to go to the picnic. I tasted my first Martian Pig Slop this year...& I also think the dunk tank is an inspired idea- Don, if you volunteer, we can probably cover the next few picnics....(but clowns or magicians are creepy).

"Sponsorship" was a bad word; "partnership" is a better one. Let's not forget that our membership is 25-30% industry insiders, and the owners, chefs, GMs, cooks, bartenders, and servers are all members too. What was wrong, for example, with ColdCountrySalmon giving their demonstration? Look at this.

I'm naive enough to think that our picnic should have enough importance where it takes priority, and that people should put it in their calendars and plan around it.

Other than the volleyball net, I don't see anything in the park rules that are contrary to what I had in mind.

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ColdCountrySalmon's demo was one of my most memorable picnic memories (along w/ the bacon tasting & Antonio's chicken), but definitely the best things have been talking w/ other folks, about BBQ & cooking & gardening & spirits, as well as other stuff. In my head, I run a BBQ joint, so who am I to exclude the true restauranteurs? & we've had soccer goals in the past (thanks, DanielK), but not enough kids or people who aren't eating, to use them to their fullest potential...

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I'm bumping this because isn't it about time to start picking a date? I was sitting here wondering and came to take a look and found....nothing specific as to when

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It is that time... and since I wasn't able to make the Spring picnic my mouth is already salivating for the delights of the fall picnic. BTW who does one have to bribe around here to convince Antonio Burrell to make friend chicken??? I would settle for a pig roasted in a caja china ;) (nudge nudge wink wink).

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I would also love it, if we had a picnic this fall- does that mean I'm committed to organizing? We need to think about a date & reserve the picnic site....

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A quick look forward shows that Fort Hunt C-2 is available every Sunday in September and October, but closes for the season after that.

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October is better on my calendar as well. There's one weekend I'll be out of commission, but fingers crossed it won't coincide with picnic plans.

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Can someone make one of those polls to see what dates work best for people? Or should we start listing?

Listing for now...we admins ran into a poll-generating issue, so in the meantime, post away.

For KMango and Friends, October 7th or 21st would be ideal. But any October Sunday will be keen.

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For us the coming two Sundays would be difficult, 9/30 is out. October 7 and 14 are good, 21 less so, 28 out.

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