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Sunday in the Park, one of Nashville’s most beloved rites of fall, returns to Ridge Field in Edwin Warner Park on Oct. 31. Following the overwhelming success of last year’s drive-thru event and after consulting healthcare professionals, co-chairs Julie Dretler and Polly Ryerson, along with leadership at Friends of Warner Parks, decided to go full steam ahead. This modified version of the al fresco luncheon won’t look exactly as it used to, but it will capture the magic of the past 32 years and also provide guests with several options to meet their comfort levels. We caught up with Julie and Polly to hear more about Sunday in the Park and why the Warner Parks are important for us all. To learn more about this event and everything else going on at Friends of Warner Parks, visit

How have you re-imagined Sunday in the Park, and what can guests expect? After such a challenging 18 months for our community, we're so excited for the 32nd Sunday in the Park. While COVID has been so hard on all of us, one silver lining is that we have all become reunited with nature, making this a special and emotional time to gather in such a beautiful setting.

Our main priority is the health and safety of all involved, and guests will once again gather at Ridge Field in Edwin Warner Park, where we are offering a unique open-air picnic luncheon experience. We will also have a drive-thru pickup option for those who would rather enjoy their picnic lunch at home. For those who choose to stay and picnic, there will be cocktails and live music on the lawn. We will be surrounded by the beauty of our precious park, and as hosts, we're thrilled to be a part of this symbolic event.

Do you have any tips for someone who’s never attended before? The key tip for this year’s event is that it will be more casual in nature than events in the past. We are going for a “picnic casual” theme, which, in essence, means wear what you feel most comfortable and relaxed in! The goal is for all of us to come together, take a few deep breaths and celebrate one of Nashville's great treasures.

Do you have a favorite spot or thing to do in the Warner Parks? The Warner Parks offer so many wonderful experiences. We love hiking the trails with friends, riding bikes along the paved paths and playing in the creek near the picnic shelters with our children. Taking long walks with our dog(s) and removing technology from our children’s hands is so therapeutic. If you’re ever looking for a "happy place," the Warner Parks will not let you down!

Why is it important to support the Friends of Warner Parks? There is something so special about being in The Warner Parks that truly brings one back to more simple times. The last year-plus has proven how much we all need to spend time together enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. We all can become so consumed in our lives, but to sit back and truly absorb our beautiful parks is essential to all of our well-beings. This is easy to forget based on the self-imposed freneticism we all feel at times. Preserving these parks and making them a consistent part of our lives will help promote wellness and self-care that so many of us miss when not intentionally focused on. We all need to support Friends of Warner Parks, not only for ourselves, but also for our community as a whole. Our sanity depends on it!