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SAVANNAH, GA – August 24, 2016 – The Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, along with the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs, present the annual Picnic in the Park, a night of fantastic music and free family fun in historic Forsyth Park. The event, slated for 4-9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, celebrates National Arts and Humanities Month by featuring spectacular repertoire performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra. Pre-concert performances will include students from Savannah Chatham Public Schools and other area schools.

This year’s theme, “Under the Stars and Stripes,” was chosen through a Facebook contest in which users were encouraged to submit their patriotic-oriented ideas. The competition winner, Wallace Blackstock, will be awarded six tickets to the family matinee of the Philharmonic’s Holiday Pops performance in December.

In the spirit of the event, attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic, as well as participate in the patriotic themed picnic table contest, which always results in fun, whimsical to elaborate gourmet smorgasbords, accented by inspiring décor that cleverly reflects the theme. The first-, second- and third-place picnic table contest winners will win $500, $250 and $100 Parker’s cards.

Since its inception over 30 years ago, Picnic in the Park has served as one of Savannah’s most popular and well-attended community events. Over 15,000 people are expected to enjoy this year’s festivities, which are free and open to the public. This longtime autumn tradition is the perfect opportunity for Coastal Empire residents to relax with friends and family beneath a starry Southern sky, as the Philharmonic provides the perfect soundtrack for the evening.

In keeping with the patriotic theme, the Army’s 3rd ID Color Guard will make an appearance, and the 3rd ID Salute Battery will provide cannons for Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the evening’s grand finale. The Savannah Philharmonic will take the stage at 7 p.m., performing beloved favorites of Mozart, Rossini, Brahms and more, as well as American classics by John Phillip Sousa, John Williams, Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin for the city’s single largest annual musical event.

Savannah Philharmonic Director of Development Terri O’Neil called the picnic an essential part of the organization’s mission and education outreach efforts.

“We’re honored to be a part of this amazing annual event, and we’re so appreciative of the financial and planning support we’ve so generously received from the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs and our title sponsor, Parker’s. We’re also grateful for support from Savannah’s Orchestral Music Fund, First Citizens Bank, Thomas & Hutton Engineering and our media sponsors WTOC, Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine, and Lesley Francis PR. Picnic in the Park is always a night to remember, and we’re confident this one will be another entertaining and memorable event.”

Savannah Philharmonic Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Shannon concurs.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people of all walks of life to come together and enjoy some beautiful music under the stars. As usual we will showcase some classic highlights from our upcoming Philharmonic season as well as some lighter music. I’m particularly looking forward to a fun set in the second half with our friend Jeremy Davis from The Fabulous Equinox orchestra. It’s going to be a great night!”

Anyone interested in entering the themed picnic contest, made possible by Parker’s, can register at the event. Judging will take place during the first half of the concert.  Greg Parker, President and CEO of Parker’s, thinks participants always do a great job of creating inspired picnic spreads that pay homage to the evening’s theme.

“Parker’s is delighted to be the presenting sponsor of Picnic in the Park for the fifth consecutive year. We feel a profound responsibility to give back to our customers by bringing music and cultural arts to all members of our community.” Parker said.

For more information about Picnic in the Park, call 912-232-6002, visit savannahphilharmonic.org, email info@savannahphilharmonic.org or find the event page posted on the Savannah Philharmonic’s Facebook page.

Major funding for the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus is provided by the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

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