Help Pittsburgh’s Parks with a Picnic

Sorry, “dinner and a show”; “picnic and philanthropy” is the new thing to do.

August 27, 2020
Amanda Reed

Picnic Basket Four Person


The Pittsburgh Park Conservancy has announced a reimagined form of its largest annual fundraiser, the Spring Hat Luncheon. The event takes place on Sept. 26 and is rebranded as Picnic in Your Park.
Rather than attend an in-person luncheon, participants can preorder gourmet picnic baskets they can enjoy at the pick-up location in Frick Park, at home or in their own neighborhood park. 
“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,” Sophie Gage, events coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, says in a press release. 
Hat Luncheon attendees can select from three picnic basket menus prepared by Common Plea Catering and pick them up at the Reynolds Street Gatehouse in Frick Park or have them delivered to their homes. The Seaside Basket features lobster salad and mini brioche rolls; the Classic Picnic Basket includes buttermilk fried chicken Milanese, and the vegetarian-friendly French Countryside Basket includes a wild mushroom and truffle quiche. 

Picnicbasket 2 Person


Each basket includes a blanket, tea and water, and a variety of chef-selected fruits and cheeses, side dishes and desserts. Flatware, dishware, glassware and napkins are provided. 
Wearing your favorite fancy hat and luncheon fashion is highly encouraged, according to Gage.
The event’s success determines how much restoration and maintenance can be done in city parks each year. Since its inception in 1999, the Hat Luncheon has raised more than $9 million for the Pittsburgh park system. The money is used for capital projects, general operating support, maintenance, tree and perennial planting, and programming and events.
“During the pandemic, we have seen an average monthly increase of 42 percent in usage of Pittsburgh’s Parks,” James Snow, senior development director at Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, says. “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.”
Basket orders must be received by Friday, Sept. 11. To purchase a basket, visit the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website