As summer arrives, park directors across the nation might take a page from Sacramento County's Department of Regional Parks. For two decades, it has successfully brought residents out to its parks by offering picnic and event planning services at competitive rates. Residents can reserve picnic sites in any of the county's four larger parks, order entertainment and catering, and rent equipment. Sacramento County is one of the only park departments that has its own in-house picnic services. If a party is being hosted, the county can provide carnival games, pony rides, rock-climbing walls, bounce houses and live entertainment such as magicians, comedians, clowns or costumed characters. The county will also cater events itself: Picnickers can choose between prepared meals or have the staff bring the barbecue onsite and cook everything from burgers and hot dogs to ribs and chicken. For a more low-key day out at the park, residents can simply rent volleyball, softball, horseshoes and croquet equipment. Regional Parks also does the entire cleanup. To learn more, visit