PORT TOWNSEND — Eighth annual All County Picnic organizers invite East Jefferson County residents to Picnic in Place on Sunday as part of a community-wide celebration of resilience and emergency preparedness.
In previous years, the free All County Picnic was held at HJ Carroll Park and featured more than 40 informational booths, speaker panels, demonstrations, live music and family-friendly games, said Megan Claflin of The Production Alliance in a press release.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide ban on gathering, this year’s All County Picnic cannot be executed in traditional fashion, Claflin said.
Instead, Picnic in Place — presented by The Production Alliance, in partnership with Local 20/20 and the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management — will encourage households to gather on their front porches or in their front yards and engage neighbors at a safe distance.
“Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen the bonds of friendship and collaboration in our community to improve not only our ability to weather this crisis but also to support our mental and emotional health,” said Danny Milholland, director of operations for The Production Alliance, the local nonprofit organization also responsible for Cake Picnic.
One special tradition — free corn on the cob — still will be honored.
This year, participating households can sign up online at allcountypicnic.com to receive a contactless delivery of free corn on the cob to be enjoyed during Sunday’s event.
“Your neighborhood’s picnics will make this truly an all-county event,” Milholland said.
In conjunction with Picnic in Place, Willie Bence, the director of the county’s Department of Emergency Management, and other local public safety and Emergency Operations Center staff will host an online presentation at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Community members can sign up to log in and hear discussion on the local response to COVID-19, as well as lessons learned and key factors to the county’s success.
Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions to presenters, and the presentation will conclude with an open discussion about ways to continue to build resiliency and new ways to build community under the “new normal.”
“While we are certainly disappointed that we won’t be able to gather in person this year, part of being a resilient community is adapting no matter what obstacles you face,” Bence said.
“Our Picnic in Place and the presentation are a reflection of the strong community we have built over the years, as well as an opportunity to define our ‘new normal’ in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic.”
The All County Picnic was conceived as a way to increase the community’s ability to deal with a crisis by encouraging development of structures and relationships before an emergency occurs.
Local 20/20’s Neighborhood Preparedness Action Group (NPREP) helps organized neighborhoods receive training and resources from the Department of Emergency Management to be better equipped to respond to and recover from a natural disaster or public emergency.
Households are encouraged to contact their neighborhood leads to find out if their neighbors are participating in Picnic in Place with a coordinated theme or activity.
For instance, in Deb Stinson’s Eisenbeis neighborhood, households are encouraged to use their Picnic in Place as an opportunity to refresh their emergency supplies.
“Once done, they can mark their achievement by planting a neighborhood-supplied ‘picnic’ flag in their yard and head out to see how others are faring,” Stinson said.
“You can participate in this picnic whether or not you are part of an organized neighborhood,” Stinson said. “However, the NPREP Team will gladly supply you with information and support to help you organize your neighborhood.”
To sign up for more information about organizing a household, see allcountypicnic.com.