Members of the Ohlone Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe opened the eighth Presidio Picnic on Sunday with a blessing ceremony. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

Eighth Presidio Picnic series begins under sunny skies

The eighth season of the Presidio Picnic, a joint effort of The Presidio of San Francisco and Off the Grid food providers, began Sunday morning under beautiful sunny skies on the Main Parade Ground lawn and with a blessing from descendants of natives who first inhabited the area.

“Enjoy the picnic and stay for the park. There’s so much history and so much to explore,” said Presidio Trust Director of Visitor Engagement Allison Stone at a welcome event before a ceremony conducted by members of the Ohlone Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe.

Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday through Oct. 20, the picnic offers 17 food trucks among 30 food vendors as well as cultural performances representing the Bay Area’s diversity.

“It’s a space that’s totally unique, bringing people from all over the Bay Area together out to try delicious food from all over the world,” said Matt Cohen, founder and CEO of Off the Grid, a street-food platform with some 300 participants selling international cuisines at varied locations.

Pointing to the Visitors Center on the Bay side of the lawn, which is open every day, Stone described how the national park, formerly the oldest operational military facility west of the Mississippi, offers many resources — hiking trails, beaches, wildife and museums — in addition to picnicking.

She called the Tennessee Hollow Watershed — an area with creeks, trails, forests, and points of history, including the childhood home of pioneer Juana Briones — a “little-known gem” that can be experienced in a great 90-minute hike that goes from the recently restored El Polín Spring to the Bay.

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