Forsyth Park was the happening place to be this weekend with a Buddy Walk for Down’s Syndrome awareness on Saturday with Paula Deen, a Pawrade pet costume contest on Sunday at 2:00 and a picnic in the park that started around 2:30 and ran into the early evening with a picnic “Some Enchanted Evening” themed contest.
Many arrived early to set up tents and stake out party areas. Some arriving with little more than beach towels and a bottle of water and some with elaborate spreads with elegant desserts and wine and champagne.
The street vendors kept their distance, by chance or request of the multiple police officers lining the parks who seemed to be enjoying the festivities as much as the picnickers. A few rebels chose to set up camp behind the bandstand to get away from the crowds and the homeless with their trash bags full of belongings, sat at the far north end of the park complaining that Parker’s Gas Stations, the sponsors of the event, didn’t have anything they were giving out that was worth keeping. I guess $100 in gas was not exactly something a homeless person would have need of.
There were the usual walkers and joggers on the exterior of the park who seemed too serious to take part in the event, but as soon as you walked south from the fountain, it was all fun and smiles.
The Pawrade, a pet costume contest sponsored by TailsSpin in Pooler, was a huge draw early in the afternoon as hundreds turned out with their dogs, either to compete or to watch.
The final four contestants were a varied lot: a bloodhound dressed as Elvis, a Staffordshire bull terrier dressed as a fairy, another bull terrier dressed as a bumble bee and a Chihuahua in a tuxedo made the final cut.
Tented picnic areas lined the borders of the park under the shade of live oak trees and little by little the middle sections began to fill with blankets and tables laden with strawberry and chocolate encrusted cup cakes, bowls of fruit, spreads of crackers and cheeses and decorations from giant champagne cups and balloons to giant urns and palm branches at an Arabian Nights themed picnic area where everyone was dressed in costume.
Their were a lot of Shakespeare themed actors from the Renaissance walking about, along with pirates, fairies, princesses, and a few locals who may or may not have been in costume.
One older gentleman sat with his sandals and cane on one side of his lounge chair with his white crew socked feet propped up as he enjoyed the music and the sun.
A middle aged couple sat with friends on a blanket talking as children ran past nearly falling over them.
One little girl had all her stuff animals sitting on the edge of the family’s blanket. The animals were laid on their sides with napkins covering them like bed sheets, presumably because they needed a nap.
Some adults were wishing they could take a nap and one man decided to do just that and slept stretched out for over three hours as people walked around him and three dogs tried to rouse him by pawing and licking him in the face. He remained undeterred and kept right on sleeping, but did eventually sat up and watched the stage where Angela Beasley’s puppets were performing.
Early in the day there was not that much to entertain adults on the stage. It was mostly children and story telling and local ballet and puppets, but toward dark, the theme changed a bit more to the adult’s liking with music by Eddie Wilson and the Strings of the South.
Picnickers had the option to sign up for judging and won baskets of goodies if their group was chosen. The theme was “Some Enchanted Evening” so there were a lot of fantasy themed set ups, but the two best had to be the Arabian Nights and the Wizzard of Oz, the latter of which won a special “Homiest” award. The Arabian Nights picked up second place overall.
The Savannah Striders, a local running club, set up next to the Wizzard of Oz folks and admitted that they looked so authentic and seemed to be having so much fun, that they might come back next year and participate in the contest with costumes and everything.
The Wizzard folks had made their own costumes, using metal funnels for tin hats and even spray painted an old pair of work boots red. A literal yellow brick “road” led up to their table where they drank lemonade in wine glasses.
There was no shortage of food and fun. A group of Savannah Striders were playing soccer with a two year old who was giving them a run for their money and another group played football with a foam football, so if it escaped in the densely packed park, it would do no real damage.
Others played board games and acted out movies getting their guests to tell them what character they were portraying. Everyone was laughing and having fun and the weather couldn’t have been much better.
Many took a walk around the park while waiting on the music to begin and the dark gray clouds that kept floating overhead and blocking out the sun, brought only needed shade and no rain.
There were a number of musical and acting performances from local dance clubs and children’s choirs, which were a little trying for the adults watching who did not have kids, but for the most part, everyone enjoyed just being in the park with so many diverse people all getting along well with one another.
PICNIC CONTEST WINNERS
There were 28 contestants in the picnic awards with four winning gift baskets for:
HOMIEST: “The Wiz” — Carolyn Lance
FIRST PLACE: “The Snow Palace” — Patra Rickman
SECOND PLACE: “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” — Joyce Piersanti
THIRD PLACE: “The Mad Hatter Tea Party” — Lisa James