All Church Picnic moving to Esther Short Park

first_imgAfter a one-year hiatus, Clark County’s All Church Picnic is back in business at a new spot, Esther Short Park.This year’s celebration of faith, fun and fellowship will be on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Vancouver’s downtown public square.The picnic drew more than 3,000 people from 75 local congregations the last time around, in 2011. Another edition was on the schedule a year ago for the Pearson Air Museum, but the 2012 picnic became part of a dispute between the National Park Service and a local nonprofit that had managed the museum.While Esther Short Park wasn’t their first choice, “We’re really excited about having it there,” said Ryan Hurley, one of the organizers.There will be a couple of differences with the move. There won’t be any sales booths in conjunction with the picnic this time.“We’ve eliminated vendors,” said Hurley, founder and director of Detour Ministries.The weekend Vancouver Farmers Market will be going on at the same time.“This year, we won’t compete. The weekend market will get 3,000 more people looking at their stuff,” Hurley said.The group is renting the entire park, which has a listed capacity of 6,500 people.The picnic scheduling brings closure to part of a simmering dispute that’s involved a prominent religious-freedom advocacy group.The All Church Picnic started as an annual event in 2009 but hit a regulatory wall during the run-up to the fourth event. The first three picnics were held at Pearson Air Museum, which had been managed until recently by the Fort Vancouver National Trust on behalf of the city. However, the museum grounds belong to the Park Service’s Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which took over management of the museum in February.“Last year, about 30 or 40 days before the picnic, we were notified that the National Park Service required a permit. We hadn’t been required in previous years,” Hurley said. “We did fill it out, and were immediately notified that a number of aspects were not permitted. We tried to work it out; pretty much everything about our event didn’t meet their allowances.”last_img read more