Started by native San Franciscan, Jimmy O'Keefe in 1988. The Picnic is entirely run by volunteers. After all the event expenses are paid, we donate the remaining funds to The Janet Pomeroy Center and The Potrero Hill Neighborhood House.
The event is first and foremost a picnic – it is a social event, and it’s for everyone! Friends and families gather in the park to enjoy a day of picnicking, visiting and looking at the old cars. It’s not unusual to see children with their parents and grandparents all enjoying the Picnic together. Attendees bring their picnic baskets and their BBQs. Many people get quite elaborate with their food, bringing not “mere” sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, but setting up mini-kitchens to cook and serve multi-course meals featuring chicken, fresh crab, lobster, and steaks!
Anyone who has a sufficiently old car – meaning a car that was made in or before 1980 – can park in the meadow for a modest fee. The cars found at the picnic range from fully restored Corvettes to daily drivers to home-built “Rat Rods.” But the vast majority of the attendees do not bring old cars – they simply come to picnic in the park. For them, the Picnic is entirely free, making Jimmy’s Old CarPicnic a fun and affordable way for families and friends to spend the day together.
While it is one of San Francisco’s last events catering particularly to a blue collar sentiment, Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic is for everyone and attracts an amazing cross-section of the local population. Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic is enjoyed by the old and the young, the rich and the poor, and all races and ethnic backgrounds.
The value of Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic has been recognized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who presented the Picnic with a Certificate of Merit, describing the Picnic as “a fun and family-friendly event in Golden Gate Park for the benefit and enrichment of children with adaptive disabilities.” Even Rec & Park has recognized the merit of Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic by presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to its founder, Jimmy O’Keefe, describing the Picnic as “popular” and noting that the founder “has dedicated his time and effort each year to provide much needed support to our city’s recreation programs.”