Celebrating women in culinary and hospitality, arts, music and more, Picnic in the Alley returns four years after a pandemic pause
Billed as a “boutique epicurean event #ByWomenForEveryone,” the event includes a roster of all-women chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, brewers and specialty food purveyors sampling their creative wares.
The inaugural event was held in October 2019, only months before the world learned of COVID-19 and the pandemic shut down businesses, with the hospitality industry being hit especially hard. Four years later, culinary, travel, and tourism are once again in full swing and growing, which sets the perfect stage for the return of one of Las Vegas’ most-loved local events.
Jolene Mannina, the event’s mastermind and founder, says, “Picnic in the Alley is so much more than a tasting event in Las Vegas.”
Among the participants are writers, photographers, cookbook curators, collectors, marketing gurus and event management experts. Mannina adds, “This event celebrates how lucky we are to have a city full of extraordinary women [collaborating on] an event that everyone can enjoy.”
The Woman Behind #AllTheWomen
Ask anyone in the Las Vegas culinary community—especially downtown and off the Strip—and they will tell you that Jolene Mannina is a dining-scene powerhouse. Her experience and expertise are at the heart of dynamic, bold and delicious platforms meant to support the creatives, the visionaries and the passionate ones.
Vegas Test Kitchen, Mannina’s culinary incubator on east Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, offers a fast-casual but no less complete restaurant experience for both the pop-up chefs honing new concepts and the diners that patronize them. In addition, her event ticketing and management site, SecretBurger.com, offers marketing and sales management for everything from specialty menu options to fully conceptualized meal and event programs.
Mannina’s love for her community, her consummate professionalism, and her explicit knowledge of hospitality—she has a resume that includes fine dining, food trucks, event management, and other positions across the industry—are the perfect ingredients for an event of this caliber in Las Vegas.
Gina Marinelli, Chef-Partner of La Strega and Harlo Steakhouse, says, “Jolene is the trailblazer for the culinary scene in Las Vegas. She is an innovator, a dreamer and a grinder! The creation of Picnic in the Alley is another extension of [her beliefs]. It’s my honor to cook with so many talented and beautiful women in Las Vegas. Picnic in the Alley is an event where we are celebrated and recognized by everyone!”
“I’m elated to see that Jolene has brought back such a positive and unique experience, highlighting all of Las Vegas’s strong, talented women with Picnic in the Alley,” says Wyndee Forrest, co-owner of CraftHaus Brewery. “Jolene continues to lead by example for women in the food and beverage [and] hospitality industry. She truly is an innovator.”
By Women, For Everyone, Benefiting the Community
The event will donate a share of the proceeds to a charitable organization focused on helping women in need, like it did in 2019. The previous Picnic in the Alley event donations went to Dress for Success Southern Nevada, an organization that assists women starting over after tragic financial or personal loss, divorce, domestic violence survival, and job loss at an advanced age by giving them interview- and job-appropriate clothing and résumé assistance, as well as job-seeking assistance.
This year’s event will benefit The Shade Tree Las Vegas, a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization. The Shade Tree organization is regarded as “the largest shelter of its kind in the state, and is the only 24-hour accessible shelter designed specifically to meet the needs of women and their children in the region.”
The Shade Tree provides homeless and abused women and children a safe haven as well as life-changing assistance. The nonprofit organization offers a 38,000-square-foot facility, including residential spaces, classrooms and an acute care medical clinic. There are dayrooms and kitchens to accommodate the daily needs of all its residents. Pets are also accepted within specific guidelines.
This Year’s Picnic in the Alley Lineup
A non-exhaustive list of this year’s creators, chefs, curators and event management includes:
- Chef Gina Marinelli of La Strega and Harlo
- Nina Manchev of Forte and Caviar Collective
- Danielle Garcia-White of Yukon Pizza
- Chef Emily Brubaker of LEV Group
- Elizabeth Blau of Honey Salt
- Chef Keris Kuwana of Keris.Sweets
- Amber Ramsey of Carl’s Donuts
- Kris Wilson of 5098 Bread
- Chef Jennifer Murphy
- Chef Makini Jovaun of Harvest Divine
- Shauna Dong of Le Thai
- Kimberly McIntosh of Milkfish
- Joanne Vakneen of Harrisa
- Chef Andrea McLean of Popnpies
- Rose Signor of The Silver Stamp
- Sonia Stelea of Peyote
- Wyndee Forrest of Crafthaus Brewery
- Pamela and Christina Dylag of Velveteen Rabbit
- Chef Jasmine Rocha of Sparrow + Wolf
- Chef Kris Wilson of 5098 Bread
- Diane Brier of Valley Cheese and Wine
- Diane Mina of Diane’s Bloody Mary
- Kim Owens of Main Street Provisions
- Danielle Crouch of Jammyland
- Lisa Cloutier of Whistling Andy Distillery
- Ashton Van Otterloo of Main St. Provisions
Event Details and Tickets
Date: Sunday, May 21, 2023 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (VIP entry at 4 p.m.)
Location: NineTwenty Events, 920 S. Commerce St., Las Vegas, NV 89101
Tickets: $100 General Admission*, $125 VIP* Early Entry, $5 Parking
* Early-bird pricing through Apr 1, 2023
Notes: This event is a 21 and older event.