Anacostia Park Cookouts Are Serious Business

Grills harder to get than Redskins tickets

By Mike Tunison
|  Tuesday, Sep 8, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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Anacostia Park Cookouts Are Serious Business

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Over the last week, we've learned yet again that the waiting list for Redskins season tickets may not be all it's cracked up to be, but those striving to get prized cookout spots at Anacostia Park? As committed as ever, the Washington Post discovers

When James Caldwell has a yen for a weekend cookout at Anacostia Park, he pulls himself out of bed at 4 a.m. to stake a claim to the best picnic tables: the ones under a roof just south of Pennsylvania Avenue in the District, a short walk from restrooms and a playground. This Labor Day, however, he thought he could afford to sleep in until 6:30, certain that Sunday night's rain and ensuing gray skies would keep away the competition.

Caldwell, visiting family in the District for the summer, was rueful Monday morning. The pavilion he had hoped to snag had been taken over at 2:30 a.m. by David Meade and Rafael Gonzalez, who spent the night wrapped in thin cotton sleeping bags in order to save eight tables for a church cookout.

The Post tries to work in an easy economic peg to the story to connect park use as an inexpensive, closeby holiday destination, but it appears there's more than a little tradition wrapped up in this.

One 54-year-old woman speaks of never missing a Labor Day cookout there. People may not be camping out for concert tickets much anymore these days, but that covered table in Anacostia? Better believe it.

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