Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, riverside park,Congratulations, Class of 2016! It’s been a treacherous journey, but, you’re here. Graduation is upon you and maybe you have a perfect job set up, or maybe you don’t. But, that’s not what we’re here for right now. It’s celebration time. And you can’t spell ‘celebration’ without cele(ry), or brat(wurst). OK, that was a bit of a stretch, but the point is food is an integral part of a celebration–especially after that long walk across the stage. So, after you choose the perfect picnic shelter and have completed any necessary paperwork, consider these plans:

Start with the basics

This is your typical “God Bless America” spread. Burgers, hot dogs, brats, and the works. Don’t forget the buns! When looking at the various picnic shelters, make sure to select one with a grill if you plan to fire up. There is nothing like walking through a park engulfed in the sweet smell of a fresh burger. Picking out the perfect burger and slapping on some ketchup and dijon mustard. When grilling please be sure to follow park guidelines and clean up ashes for others to use!

Throw in some healthy (or not healthy) options

Of course, you and your guests will want some refreshing fruit and flavorful veggies. The Lynchburg Community Market is a great resource for recipes like watermelon, zucchini, and kale, but you can also find baked goods and sweets as well! Make sure to bring a cooler and keep the cold items on ice.

End with something sweet and salty

The weather is heating up and it’s a welcome relief for most, but some desserts prefer a cooler climate. So consider a cake (we prefer cake over cupcakes because it saves those pesky wrappers from any curious squirrels). Shout out to the Community Market again for these recipes on Cacao & Fruit Salad and Carrot Cake Ganache Cookies (your guests will be impressed!).

Lawn games (not edible but comes in handy when you need to keep people distracted because your uncle burnt the first round of burgers)

The company of friends, family, and the local squirrels is a great way to celebrate, but sometimes a little friendly competition can be a great way to keep up the party momentum. We recommend cornhole, washers, ultimate frisbee, or disc golf (course located at Peaks View Park).

We should also note that we strive to keep Lynchburg clean and litter-free. Please keep this in mind as your guests run gleefully amuck, taking photos and leaving napkins and paper plates for the wind to scoop up.

Congratulations once again Class of 2016–and best of luck out there!