Picnic in the Park program opens in Montgomery County, provides outdoor meal delivery service


Jess Solomon

A sign for the new program, which encourages outdoor dining and socialization.

By Grace Corbett

Montgomery County Parks has partnered with Visit Montgomery’s MoCo Eats to provide the new Picnic in the Park Program to the public.

The program delivers meals from local restaurants at drop-off locations in nine Montgomery County parks. Individuals place their orders by scanning a QR code, and a third-party delivery service drops off the meal at a designated delivery zone. 

Visit Montgomery, the county’s non-profit tourism organization, began MoCo Eats last March. The service provides an online directory with over 850 scan-to-order local restaurants.

“People use that as a way to find restaurants that offer take-out, delivery, and outdoor seating,” said Visit Montgomery marketing director Cory Van Horn. “Picnic in the Park is an extension of MoCo Eats where people can not only find restaurants but can enjoy a meal in the park.”

Van Horn, along with the rest of Visit Montgomery and the Montgomery County Parks Department, created Picnic in the Park to support both local restaurants and public property. Not only does it encourage county residents to enjoy public parks, it also funds local businesses.

“Local restaurants are a key driver in the economy,” Van Horn said. “Restaurants are at a limited capacity because of the pandemic and current requirements which is why we wanted to help.”

Kirsten Hein, a Montgomery County Parks Activation Manager, believes the program is a great way for people to spend time outside while remaining socially distanced.

“People are looking for ways to have fun and do new things,” Hien said. “It’s a way for people to get together while physically distancing in the outdoors and enjoy the parks in different ways.”

McLean School sophomore Paula Sucre has gone to Norwood Park with her friends to utilise the program. Sucre feels it’s critical to have ways to socialize with other people amidst the pandemic and virtual learning, as well as the subsequent isolation. The Picnic in the Park program allows individuals to safely socialize outdoors with others, she said.

“You need people your age to connect with,” Sucre said. “You need to have time for socializing and figuring yourself out, and we’re kind of losing that time.”