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Competitive Picnicking Comes To Millennium Park

By Alexander Hough in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 24, 2012 2:40PM

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French people picnicking (noncompetitively, of course)
Here’s another fun summer activity to put on your disposable plastic plate: On Saturday, August 11, the Grant Park Music Festival will hold its first annual picnic contest before that evening’s concert.

Finally the tranquil experience of eating outdoors with loved ones gets spiced up with some competitive anxiety. Picnicking teams’ worth will be judged by how well their meal ties into the GPMF’s program, Joseph Haydn’s The Seasons (which, FYI, is not the better-known Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi). Specifically, contestants should reference the seasons and include “themes from the evening's score, including peasant dances, thunderstorms, hunting expeditions, and work/labor.” Check the program notes, which include the lengthy libretto, for inspiration. A grand prize winner and two runners-up will receive gift cards to Mariano’s Fresh Market and GPMF swag.

Rules are minimal and are essentially just the regular guidelines for eating on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn. Go to the GPMF’s website for detailed information on registration (due by August 8), criteria for judging, and rules. Try your hardest, because if you lose all you'll be left with is a pleasant summer outing marred by a picnic blanket filled with your failure.

But don’t wait the two and half weeks to see the GPMF in action. Their season is winding down, but there’s a lot of great music left to be heard, including the next two programs featuring a pair of brilliant fifth symphonies: Sergei Prokofiev’s this Wednesday and Beethoven’s on Friday and Saturday. As always, seeing the GPMF is free.