the Art of the Picnic


Hipsters: Chelsea Figueroa, Hunter Johnson, Tyler Priest, Joanna Lynn Holloway

by Edward Badham

It is lunch time and your tummy rumbles. The Golden Arches are calling your name. You heed the call, punch the clock and make a dash for the Number 3 combo. You slink over to a back booth with that double 1/4-pounder with cheese and large fries in hand.  All the while you keep your head down, avoiding eye contact with the other patrons as you stuff your face with the greasy, processed nastiness and its false promise of good taste. Why do you fall for it every time? Suddenly it seems  you are trapped in a movie set somewhere between Groundhog Day and Super Size Me. It is true the fast–food habit is hard to break, but once you do it’s hard to go back. Let me suggest a first step :

Have a picnic…

A picnic is an easy way to get outside, and eat healthier, and it is just plain fun. Planning a picnic is like making a work of art. It can be as simple as a quick sketch or as elaborate as a master oil painting.

First choose your canvas. Birmingham is flush with green space. So deciding where to go should be easy. If you are in a hurry just hit a local park, Brother Bryan, Caldwell, or the exciting new Railroad Park. There are also countless little meadows and coves by the river, not to mention Oak Mountain State Park.

vintage bicycle

Then choose your medium. A brown paper sack with a sandwich will do fine, or if you are feeling highly creative, full–on gourmet fare might be in the cards. It is up to you.

Finally choose your style. You can eat solo in the park or make it a weekend bash.

And to make things better, Birmingham is home to one of the Southeast’s only dedicated picnic stores, Green Central Station. The proprietor, Nancy Tran, is a true picnic artist. In her shop you can buy or rent anything you would ever need to create the perfect picnic.  She has new and vintage baskets; portable picnic tables; classic lawn games, such as horseshoes, badminton, and croquet; as well as vintage coolers and bicycles. You can pick and choose what you need or just ask Nancy to put it all together and cater the whole affair.

She can create a romantic moonlit rendezvous by the river or a family reunion with a multi–course meal and games

Shop owner, Nancy Tran

When I asked her why she is so into picnics she told me. “The picnic is a universal affair. It has no affiliation to politics, religion or race and it’s non-gender specific. Picnics promote a healthier lifestyle by encouraging you to eat local, fresh and all natural. It promotes relaxation as well as light exercise. Picnics are the new deal!”

So break the fast–food cycle, get outside and have a picnic.

Family: Jessica Parsons, Princess Ruthie and Princess Elsie, Dog: Fido.

2 Responses to “the Art of the Picnic”

  1. I love this so much. I love picnics. If it will cool off some Railroad Park deserves some picnic love.

  2. Warren says:

    Hi I wanted to know who the photographer is that took the pic of the guy and girl on the bicycle?

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