Our Story

Picnic in the Park has been created through the partnership of Event Essentials and the Madison Parks Foundation.  The event was born when Event Essentials wanted to create a signature event to give back to the community that has supported its own growth and success. “The parks have played an unrecognized and subtle and important role in the lives of many Madisonians.” Kevin Hoffman – President and Owner of Event Essentials.      

As a result, Event Essentials pulls out the stops in support of Madison Parks Foundation to ‘step back in time’ and celebrate the legacy of the private creation of our public parks.  As many people many not know, our city’s public parks were privately created by a group of influential and civic-minded leaders that came together to create the Madison parks and Pleasure Drive Association.  This organization was comprised of many of the names we still recognize today – Olin, Owen, Vilas, Burrows, Tenney and the list goes on.  They originally created the Association for carriage rides to escape the ‘budding metropolis’ of Madison, but soon the Association evolved to privately create and maintain what is now our beautiful public park system. 

The Madison Parks Foundation carries on that legacy today and the Picnic in the Park celebrates this tradition.  This annual event rotates from park to park, celebrating not only the beautiful spaces throughout our city but the remarkable history behind each park.  Our partner celebrity chefs provide an era-inspired feast and the event features live music along with an update on Madison Park Foundation’s latest initiatives.  Thanks to the generous support of Event Essentials and our sponsors, proceeds from the Picnic in the Park support the Madison Parks Foundation.  However, the event was not created as a fundraiser.  Although we always encourage others to consider joining the legacy left behind by others, the focus of the event is simply a celebration of the history, community and beauty created by our parks.  We invite you to join us for an evening you won’t soon forget!


Special thanks to Robert Timm, and Opix Media, for creating the following short film on the remarkable history of the Madison Parks Foundation.