A Social Media Twist on the Classic Picnic in the Park

One of the best ways to celebrate our parks is to have a picnic. An All-American institution, picnics can feature a variety of ingredients, but the essentials are firmly ensconced in our collective conscience: blanket; food, which suddenly tastes better outside than it would indoors; and good company, whether it be friends and family or work colleagues.

San Jose Parks Foundations and similar organizations across the country all have public events to celebrate the wonder and beauty of our public parks. It occurred to us that we need something, too, so ordinary citizens can gather together. The best way to acknowledge, honor and celebrate a park is to use it.

With this in mind, we’ve created “Picnic in Your Park Day.” The all-inclusive event will start at 10am and end at 4pm Saturday, April 26.

In order to keep this celebration an intimate one, we’re not trying to gather hundreds or thousands. The key to a good picnic is to keep it simple. The impact of small groups coming together can itself be a powerful statement.

A park is a living, breathing asset for the people who use it. Recognizing the high-tech culture of Silicon Valley, we thought we would add a modern twist—a cyber-ization of our celebration. We are asking everyone who participates in Picnic in Your Park Day to bring along a smart phone or other photo-sharing device, and to upload photos to San Jose Parks Foundation’s Facebook page, as well personal Facebook pages.

With nearly 200 parks of all shapes and sizes, this seems like a great way to unify them into one. By uploading photos of citizens enjoying themselves, our cyber community—pretty vast at this point—will be able to experience the celebration on a grander scale. We hope to see the diversity of cultures, ages, cuisine and parks that makes up San Jose.

There is no cost to participate. In fact, there is a mild incentive for participants—at least for those who sign up early online. San Jose Parks Foundation will provide a modest “picnic kit” of goodies for these participants. The rest will be up to the imagination of those who take part in this inaugural effort, which we hope to turn into an annual event.

The essence of Picnic in Your Park Day is its simple purpose and the ease of participating. We are not expecting to see people picnic all six hours but rather to take a moment to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Feel free to start early or continue on well after the event. The sky’s the limit as far as uploading and sharing.

James P. Reber is the executive director of San Jose Parks Foundation, a veteran nonprofit entrepreneur and experienced special event planner and producer. He can be reached at [email protected] or 408.893.PARK.


  1. James since you’re a big part of the parks foundation.

    District 9 residents in Robertsville would love to see the grounds at Pine Hill School preserved as a park. At one time it was under threat of development until Jim Bealle stepped in and found the original grant to the property stating it must always remain as open space.

    What would it take from us to get the ball moving on that? Right now myself and my neighbors are forming the cambrian dem club, not sure if that helps. I would imagine the property would have to be purchased by the CSJ from SJUSD.

    Let me know, thanks.

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