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dr.com Fall Picnic: General Qs and As


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I’m speaking from personal experience when I say that I’m sure the upcoming donrockwell.com picnic will be a great party and I (along with my fellow donrockwell.com members and the picnic’s organizers) hope that everyone, especially our new and/or wayward members, will come and join the fun. Since I still feel somewhat new to this group, I volunteered (read: was volunteered) to start this thread to make it easier for people, especially our newer members and members-to-be, to find answers to basic questions about the picnic. We hope that these Qs and As, and any others that people may add to the mix will help everyone feel informed about -- and welcome to come to -- the picnic.

General Picnic Information

When is the picnic going to be held? Sunday, October 15th from noon – 6 p.m.

Where is the picnic going to be held? The picnic will be held at Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria, Virginia, just south of Old Town. As the date of the picnic approaches, we’ll provide additional information about where in the park (at which specific area in the park) the picnic site will be located.

Will the picnic be held even if it is raining? We won’t let a little rain or clouds get in the way of our fun. But just to be safe, we've scheduled a rain date for Sunday, October 22nd (also from noon - 6 p.m, but with a location at Belle Haven Park in Alexandria).

How do I register for the picnic? There are two steps. First, you need to be a member of donrockwell.com. If you are not yet a member, sign up here. Second, once you've joined donrockwell.com, you can sign up for the picnic by posting a message in the general picnic thread, here, stating that you plan to attend (with or without guests) and what you plan to bring. If you prefer not to post all of that information on the board, you can send a personal message (“PM”) to Zoramargolis and let her know. A link to general information about sending PMs is here. Just remember, you cannot post on the board or send a PM until you join the group. Once you come to the picnic, you will need to sign in (as will all members, since this is not a public event).

Once I register for the picnic, will I receive any kind of tickets or confirmation?

This is an informal event and there are no tickets (or other types of confirmation). Once you have signed up, all you have to do is check the board periodically for updates on the picnic here --and show up.

Is there parking available at Fort Hunt Park? Parking is available (and free) at Fort Hunt Park.

Is the park near a metro station? Fort Hunt Park is in Alexandria, but it is not within walking distance of a metro station. If you would like a ride to the picnic, or are willing to offer a ride to someone, please send a PM to Goldenticket, who will be coordinating rides.

What should I wear? The picnic will be held outdoors, so it’s probably a good idea to let the weather be your guide. Need more advice? Virginia law prohibits indecent exposure.

Is there a fee or cost to come to the picnic? There is no fee. However, we have had to pay for the use of Fort Hunt Park. Also, some members are purchasing supplies and food for the pig roast (the results of which will be available to all picnic attendees). If you'd like to contribute something toward the rental fee -- and/or costs of the pig roasting, we will be accepting voluntary contributions (of $1) to help cover those costs.

I’m a little nervous about going to the picnic because I don’t know/haven’t actually met any of you. We understand, but many of us met and began friendships at a donrockwell.com event – and for many of us, a donrockwell.com picnic was the first time we ventured out to a donrockwell.com event. If you'd like to meet some of us before the picnic, there are a lot of happy hours and casual dinners scheduled between today and the date of the picnic. For example, there are a number of “$20 dinners” coming up here. Please come and join the fun.

Is there an actual person named Don Rockwell? All we know is that some donrockwell.com members have made unconfirmed claims to have spotted someone lurking around various bars and restaurants around town who is rumored to be him. We can confirm that the Washingtonian's wine column is written under the pseudonym "Don Rockwell."

Who/What to Bring to the Picnic

Can I bring a guest? Can I bring my children? Of course! Many of us will be bringing others (of the adult and child variety) with us. When you sign up for the picnic, try to give us an idea of how many people will be joining you, so we can make sure to have enough supplies on hand.

How do I know what to bring to the picnic? Do you like the food or drink you are thinking of bringing? Do you think other people will? If so, those are two good indications you are on the right track. Take a look at the general picnic thread here to get a sense of what other people will be bringing. If you don’t feel like -- or don't have the time to think of -- cooking, bring your favorite store bought item. If you still have questions about what to bring, you can also post a message in the general picnic thread and get some input from others.

How much food/drink should I bring? You don’t have to bring enough to feed everyone; generally about 10-12 servings is a good amount.

I want to bring my chili for the chili tasting, how do I sign up? Great, sign up here.

I don’t know the first thing about making chili or roasting a pig. Will I be in over my head at this picnic? We will not roast you. People are bringing all sorts of goodies to the picnic, including snacks, side dishes, and drinks. We’re not all chefs or expert cooks or even cooks, although some of us are. We’re a group of people who like food and wine and beer and other delicious things and enjoy discussing and tasting (and at times overindulging in) them.

I’m a vegetarian/vegan, will there be enough for me? No worries. Many of the dishes that people already have signed up to bring are vegetarian and/or vegan. Believe us, you won’t go hungry. Don't believe us? Come and find out.

I really (really) cannot cook. What can I bring? Folding chairs are a good idea. Ice, bottled water, soda, wine and beer usually are appreciated, as are other (legal) elixirs of goodness, and you can keep your eye on the general picnic thread and Zoramargolis's posts for more guidance. Or bring your favorite store-bought item and let us in on the secret.

I’d like to bring a cake to the picnic, but the last time I tried to make this particular cake, I had a baking disaster. What do I do if that happens on the day of the picnic? Come to the picnic!

What if someone else already has signed up to bring the dish I wanted to bring? Bring it to the picnic, we’d love to try your version. We will have a number of people bringing chili and a few teams roasting pigs. There also are at least three people bringing their prized versions of deviled eggs.

Is there anything else I should bring? Anything you think might make the picnic more fun (example: a Frisbee). Reminder: there may be children at the picnic.

I still have a few more questions, who can I ask? Once you sign up as a donrockwell.com member, you can post your questions here in this thread or in the general picnic thread. If you’d prefer to ask your question privately, you can send a PM to me, here. If you send a PM, we’ll post what we hope are the correct answers to your questions (without identifying you) here in this thread. See you at the picnic.

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A few more picnic-related questions and answers. Keep the questions coming, there's still time to ask before the picnic (on Sunday, October 15th).

Are there restrooms at Fort Hunt Park? Yes, there are restroom facilities at the park. You can find a map of Fort Hunt Park here.

I've changed my mind about what I'd like to bring, how do I let someone know? You can post a note in the main picnic thread, here or you can send a PM to Zoramargolis.

I have something scheduled early on Sunday but could come to the picnic for a few hours in the afternoon. Is it ok to come late? Of course, feel free to stop by when it's convenient for you. When you sign up for the picnic, just let us know that you'll probably arrive later in the day.

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With less than a week to go before the picnic, we want to be sure everyone is "in the know" and ready for the picnic fun. Here is some additional information that may be of help. Hope to see you on Sunday!

Is the picnic open to the general public? No. The donrockwell.com picnic is a private party open only to registered donrockwell.com members and their guests. If you plan to attend the picnic, please sign up now! The picnic site has been secured with a permit from the National Park Service and the site only holds a limited number of people. There will be a check-in table at the front of the picnic area where attendees' registration will be verified. Please be sure to let the picnic organizers know that you plan to attend in order to avoid any problem at the "gate."

Is it ok to take photos/videos at the picnic? It's fine to take photos and videos at the picnic (and who wouldn't want to have some visual reminders of the incredible food and great fun). But please remember that everyone has a different sensitivity to being photographed. Some people are private, some people are shy, and some people like to consult with their PR representatives before their photos are released into general circulation. Please be sure to obtain people's permission before posting their pictures on the web or posting a link to a photo album or video. If by accident you post a photo/video without having received permission to do so, please remove it immediately and do not post it again until you receive permission. And similarly, if someone requests that a photo be taken down, please respect that individual's wishes and remove it promptly.

What do I do when I get to the picnic? All you need to do is check in yourself, your guests and the food/drink item you'll have with you. First, go to the sign-in table and check in and put on a nametag. If you are bringing beverages, then all you'll need to do next is bring the beverages to the drink area. As for food items, we want to make sure that all of the goodies are labeled so that everyone knows what each item is and who was kind enough to bring it. In fact, Goldenticket is in the process of making a label for each food item that is listed on the master picnic list and those labels will be available to you upon checking in. Of course, if at the last minute you change your mind about what you are bringing or if you bring an extra item on Sunday, you will be able to make a new label at the picnic. So, all you will need to do is take your food item and its label and bring them both to the buffet table appropriate for the particular item (e.g., try to put your entree among the other entrees and not in the middle of the dessert table). Then it's time to eat, drink, and have a good time! And please introduce yourself around. All of us here were new to donrockwell.com at some point and all of us attended an event where we knew no one -- and we know that if you come to the picnic knowing no one, that won't be true when you leave.

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Three days and counting until the picnic. Here's a little more information.

Q. I just heard about the picnic, can I still come? Yes, you just need to sign up. If you are not yet a member of donrockwell.com, please sign up here. Once you've done that, all you need to do is post a message in the general picnic thread here and let us know that you'll be coming (and whether you'll be bringing a guest) and what you'd like to bring to the picnic.

Q. If I drink too much Martian Pig Slop from Hell and pass out or fall asleep at the picnic, will other donrockwell.com members take sharpies and draw on me and then take pictures of me and post them on the internet? Will someone then pick me up, smear stinky cheese on me and then tie me up for the rest of the night? Listen: seriously, those "vitamins" you've been taking, you need to stop. As we mentioned above, your photo won't be published unless you agree to it. As for the answer to the rest of your question, you'll have to come to the picnic to find out.

Q. Where exactly is the picnic going to be held? We have reserved picnic area C-2 in Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria. A map of the park can be found here. This is the same location that served as the site for the spring picnic earlier this year.

Recap: The picnic is scheduled for this Sunday, October 15th from 12 pm until 6 pm at picnic area C-2 in Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria. See you there.

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And some more important information to keep in mind:

Q: Do I need to bring money to the picnic? There is no fee to come to the picnic. However, we have had to pay for the use of Fort Hunt Park ($135) and some members have purchased the pigs that will be part of the pig roasting "competition" ($300). If you'd like to contribute something toward the rental fee and/or costs of the pig roasting, we will be accepting voluntary contributions to help cover those costs (there will be a contribution jar at the picnic).

Also, we will be accepting voluntary contributions to help Argonaut Tavern bartender Louis "Quike" Morales, who was terribly injured last week in a shooting in the District of Columbia. Miraculously he survived, but he was severly injured and is uninsured and faces very high medical bills. The Argonaut Tavern is hosting a fundraiser for him on Friday evening (October 13th) and we are extending the opportunity for everyone to help him. We will be accepting voluntary contributions at the picnic. If you'd like to make a contribution at the picnic, you can do so by leaving either cash or a check (to Don) in the general contribution jar. Don will take care of getting our contributions to the family and will post on the board about the contributions we make. More information can be found here.

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Reminder: The picnic is going to be held tomorrow, Sunday, October 15th from 12 pm (noon) until 6 pm at picnic area C-2 in Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria. If you haven't signed up yet, please do so now. If you need information about the park (location, directions, etc), check here. Come hungry and thirsty and please consider making a contribution to help cover the picnic costs and to help the Argonaut Tavern's Luis "Quike" Morales. See you tomorrow.

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What an incredible picnic! Thank you to everyone who planned, attended, roasted the pigs, ate and drank and otherwise supported the extravaganza. Here are a few post-party Qs and As.

Q. Now that the picnic is over, is there anything I need to do? We are compiling recipes for the items everyone brought to the picnic, so if you have not done so, please add your recipe to the list by posting it in the fall 2006 picnic recipe thread here. Also, you could try to beat the holiday rush and start working on your recipes for the spring picnic. For the record, I'm more than willing to taste the early efforts.

Q. I think I left some of my serving dishes at the picnic, is there anyone I can ask? Post a message in the main picnic thread here and let everyone know what you think you left behind and check the thread for a response.

Q. I did not have my wallet with me on Sunday but I'd like to make a contribution to Luis Morales, is it too late? There's still time to contribute. You can send a check to Luis in care of the Argonaut Tavern, 1433 H St. NE, Washington, DC 20002. Additional information is found in the thread here.

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