Party Plan: Outdoor Concert Picnics

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Summertime brings the warmth of bright sunshine, days meant for swimming and outdoor play and evenings perfect for enjoying outdoor musical concerts and plays. If you are lucky enough to live in a community with such outdoor events in the summer, you should try to attend as many as possible–they are special opportunities not to be missed!

These summer evening events are excellent chances for easy entertaining. Invite your friends and neighbors to join you before the concert for a picnic dinner at the amphitheater or park. Dining together al fresco with good friends is a delightful and delicious way to relax and slow down for the dessert of the day–fine music or theater. Outdoor concert picnics are truly summer favorites!

Check your local newspaper or online events calendar for free events planned in your area in the next few months. Choose the one of most interest to you and your friends at a convenient time.Check the concert rules for the chosen venue. Some parks don’t allow you to bring glass bottles, liquor or beer, coolers, pets, or outside food and drink. You will need to know what is allowed first, so you can make your party plans.

It is probably easiest to stick with eight friends or less to invite to your concert picnic. You could provide the entire meal yourself if you consider yourself the host. If you consider yourself the event coordinator for friends who like to go out together, you could ask them to bring the picnic food. Be sure to assign the different parts of the meal to different guests, so you don’t have duplication.

Since many people’s summer schedules fill up quickly, issue your invitations well in advance so your friends can put this get-together on their calendars. Include a rain plan so guests will know the party is off in case of rain or whether they should come to your house instead. Ask your guests to bring (or borrow) their own portable chairs, which will save you having to transport all the seating. Don’t bring tall chairs that would block other concertgoers’ view.

Ask a friend or two to ride to the venue with you to help you carry the picnic items to your chosen spot. Strong canvas totes or knapsacks are terrific for carrying food, dinnerware, blankets and more. Be sure to bring sunscreen, bug repellant, anti-itch lotion, cheap sunglasses, a lightweight jacket, an umbrella or two, hand-sanitizer, and wet-wipes or baby wipes.

If you can bring a short portable table, this would be very helpful for setting up your picnic foods. You can also create a table out of your hard-sided cooler, or bring a board to lie across two hard-sided coolers.

If you have or can borrow a cooler on wheels with a handle, getting your picnic supplies to the perfect spot will be easier. Freeze bottles of water to use in your cooler, and as they melt, you can use them for drinking or cleaning up.

If you have or can borrow bamboo or hard-plastic trays, these are good options for your guests to use for their plates, cups and cutlery. If you are just using plates, be sure to use melamine or sturdy disposable plates, so the meal won’t end up in your guests’ laps.

Reusable dishes, cutlery and cups are certainly the green way to entertain, and you just need to bring a vinyl tote-bag to take these items home to wash. If you prefer to use all disposable items, be sure to bring a large trash-bag in which to take your trash from the venue. Don’t forget to bring along a knife to cut food items.

Use lightweight plastic containers or zip-lock bags for your food items. Bring your favorite picnic menu items, but make sure you can keep them cool enough for safety purposes.

Eat early enough so that you can clean up before the concert’s start. If you have time and it’s not too far, you might want to carry your picnic supplies back to your car before the entertainment begins.

After an outstanding outdoor meal, sit back to enjoy the play or music under the stars. Good food, friends, and beautiful music—these are the makings for a fabulous summer night!

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