“Picnic in the Park at Lower Presidio Historic Park” on Saturday, July 1 attracts hundreds of people to enjoy family-friendly event

July 5, 2017. Kicking off the 4th of July holiday weekend, Old Monterey Foundation held its first ever “Picnic in the Park” at Lower Presidio Historic Park on Saturday, July 1, 2017, a well-attended free family-friendly event! Hundreds of people attended this “FUNdraiser” and enjoyed great food, live entertainment, historic reenactments, walking tours, costume contests, scavenger hunt, prizes and much more. They learned that Old Monterey Foundation is continuing to raise funds to develop trails and interpretive signs for all the monuments to enhance and restore this park which is considered “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast” and how they can donate to support this project. Attendees also enjoyed the spectacular views of the beautiful Monterey Bay, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey Harbor at this park that is hidden in plain view as well as the restored Saint Serra statue.

After a welcome by Bill Wojtkowski, President, Old Monterey Foundation, the event continued with an Opening Prayer by Louise J. Miranda Ramirez, Tribal Chairwoman of the Ohlone/ Costanoan-Esselen Nation who later gave a brief presentation about their important history at the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Attendees enjoyed several great musical sets from Derek Bodkin & the Hovering Breadcat Folk Ensemble who performed crowd-pleasing folk, rock and seafaring music.  They also enjoyed the local youth dance troupe performances from DiFranco DanceProject and Ragamuffin Musical Theatre Company of Pacific Grove. Attendees sampled food from several food trucks, Taste of Mexico, Indian Gourmet, Poke Lab, and enjoyed other sweet treats and brews, including wine and beer.

A crowd-pleasing highlight was the historic costumed reenactment during the Picnic in the Park event. Argentinian Privateer Hippolyte Bouchard (regarded by his victims as a pirate) and his loyal crew reenacted the colorful capture of the Presidio of Monterey (El Castillo) in 1818.  Reenactor Maria Antoni Pico’s shared a fascinating recollection of the battle as well.

Picnic in the Park also featured costume contests with prizes for best dressed pirate-both kids and adult with lots of pirate booty, photo ops with pirates and historic reenactors, a scavenger hunt with prizes and face painting for the kids. Attendees took free Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours with historian Tim Thomas and he shared fascinating historic highlights about the park.  They also visited the Presidio of Monterey Museum, also located on the site and operated by the City of Monterey, and viewed exhibits, artifacts, and videos that lead visitors through Monterey’s various stages of military development from the indigenous period which highlights the area’s native populations, through the Spanish and Mexican periods and up to present day.

Sponsors of Picnic in the Park included KSBW 8 NBC, Central Coast ABC and Estrella TV Costa, Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association and Peter B’s Brewpub.

For more information about how to get involved and support Old Monterey Foundation’s Lower Presidio Historic Park Project and become a Friend of the Lower Presidio, call (831) 346-3030 or email piratesinthepark@gmail.com.