April Event: Waller Creek Pop-Up Picnic

April 3, 2015 by Kate Harrington

You could be forgiven for thinking of the annual Waller Creek Pop-Up Picnic, now in its third year, as an Austin foodie event.

The picnic, which this year will take place on April 18 at Palm Park, has gained a reputation for its picnic basket dinners. Ranging from $30 to $150, the baskets represent some of Austin’s most beloved eateries, including Sway, Franklin BBQ, Uchi/Uchiko, and Home Slice Pizza.

The real star of the picnics, though, is Waller Creek itself. Each year the pop-up picnic raises money and awareness for the Waller Creek Conservancy, the nonprofit organization behind the preservation and redevelopment of Waller Creek.

Waller Creek Pop Up Picnic
A snapshot of last year’s event. (Waller Creek Conservancy)

With the construction of a new tunnel beneath the creek, which began in 2011, nearly 30 acres around Waller Creek will be removed from the floodplain.

That will open up the creek’s 1.5-mile corridor for redevelopment, a project that will transform the lackluster downtown creek into an urban waterway that will be revitalized with a chain of parks featuring interactive and public spaces. While the creek is currently isolated from its surroundings, the redevelopment will bring it back into the public sphere.

The design team for the redevelopment includes Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, BIG RED DOG Engineering, and dwg. Urban Landscape Architects.

Palm Park, where the picnic will take place, is in the heart of the project. The current park will be integrated into a section of the Waller Creek redevelopment called the Grove, where live oaks will shade paths throughout the space.

The Grove Palm Park Waller Creek
An artist’s rendering of what Palm Park and “The Grove” will look like (Waller Creek Conservancy)

“The Waller Creek Pop-Up Picnic is a preview experience of what a transformed Waller Creekwill become—a place, welcome to all, where Austin’s neighbors come together to engage and enjoy its parks and natural resources,” said Waller Creek CEO Peter Mullan.

For more information on the upcoming pop-up picnic, and how to order a picnic basket, visit WallerCreekPicnic.org.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.