Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy gourmet picnics to replace hat luncheon

Aug 24, 2020 5:07:25 PM by Trib Live

The PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon, originally scheduled for May 2, has been reimagined and rescheduled for Sept. 26 as a Picnic in Your Park.

Patrons are invited to pre-order gourmet picnic baskets and enjoy them at the central pickup location in Frick Park, at home or in other neighborhood parks.

Three menus prepared by Common Plea Catering are available for pickup on picnic day at the Reynolds Street Gatehouse in Frick Park or for home delivery. The Seaside Basket features lobster salad and mini brioche rolls; the Classic Picnic Basket has a buttermilk fried chicken Milanese entrée; and the vegetarian-friendly French Countryside Basket has a wild mushroom and truffle quiche.

Each basket includes a blanket, tea, water, chef-selected fruits and cheeses, side dishes and desserts. Flatware, dishware, glassware and napkins are provided.

A basket for two is $300, a basket for four is $500. Shrimp cocktail, pate and Champagne can be added to each basket for an additional fee.

Proceeds from sales will support the Parks Conservancy’s mission to enhance and maintain the city’s public park system. For each basket purchase, the conservancy will donate a meal to the City of Pittsburgh’s “Grab and Go” meal distribution program for children experiencing food insecurity.

“When the Hat Luncheon was postponed, we wanted to create a new type of event that provides an experience for people to celebrate and support the parks as the havens they provide,” said Sophie Gage, the conservancy’s events coordinator. “‘Picnic in Your Park’ is the perfect way to have an in-person, social event with your family and friends in your favorite outdoor environment while practicing social distancing.”

“Parks are one of the few public amenities that have remained open and accessible during the pandemic, which is why we are seeing substantial increases in park visitation,” said James Snow, the conservancy’s senior development director. “During the pandemic, we have seen an average monthly increase of 42% in usage of Pittsburgh’s parks. Without the establishment of the dedicated park tax and with declining philanthropic gifts and public resources, support of this reimagined event is needed now more than ever.”

The annual Hat Luncheon is the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser.

To purchase a “Picnic in Your Park” basket, visit pittsburghparks.org/hatluncheon. Orders are due by Sept. 11.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@triblive.com or via Twitter .