The Old Worthington Partnership's new marquee summer event will mark the debut of outdoor-alcohol laws downtown.
The second Picnic with the Partnership is scheduled 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 24.
It will be the first Worthington event to use the new rules for the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, which establishes boundaries for patrons to walk around with open containers of alcoholic beverages during specified times or events.
The picnic shuts down High Street traffic between state Route 161 and South Street from 4 p.m. to midnight, replacing cars with tables along the roadway.
In its first year, a fence blocked the roadway, which meant patrons could not walk into the shops or restaurants near the middle of the picnic.
The new DORA will allow visitors to access the businesses from the picnic, where they can take alcohol purchased from the eight DORA-eligible businesses throughout the designated boundaries in Old Worthington.
The businesses are Dewey's Pizza, Harold's American Grille, House Wine, La Chatelaine, the Old Bag of Nails Pub, A Taste of Vietnam, the Whitney House and the Worthington Inn, and the boundaries are High Street between Village Green Drive South and South Street and east to west from 26 E. New England Ave. to 41 W. New England Ave.
Annina Parini, executive director of the Old Worthington Partnership, said the change is expected to create a more welcoming and collaborative environment.
"Our organization is here to support the businesses and to host events for the community, and the fence felt like we were cutting one off from the other," she said. "So we really like the idea that the community will be able to circulate and celebrate everything Worthington has to offer."
Worthington City Council President Bonnie Michael said she expects it "will be nice for people to stroll in and out of the stores" during the picnic.
She said she is looking forward to experiencing the first run use of a DORA.
"I think it's going to be wonderful," Michael said. "I think it's going to work out really perfectly. I think people will be happily surprised to see how well-behaved our city will be."
Worthington Division of Police leaders are hoping Michael's prediction is correct.
Sgt. James Moran said officers had reported "absolutely no issues whatsoever last year" after supplying more manpower than necessary in 2016.
Although he said some attention would be paid to the new wrinkles presented by the DORA, he doesn't expect the picnic to be a significant burden to the division.
"It takes increased manpower and requires us to utilize overtime to staff it," he said. "But based on last year's staffing, we treated it as a market-day type of event. We realized we didn't need to go that far, so there may be a slight reduction, but the general public won't notice a major difference."
Picnic-food options from restaurants involved in the event are sold out, but visitors still may buy a $12 individual seat and bring a picnic dinner.